Water Music

I think that cellist Zoë Keating is an open water swimmer,  although she doesn’t seem  to realize  it.  Many of her  songs capture the  energy and the sense of purpose and the comraderie of long swims, and also  the loneliness of the  broad expanses of deep water. Here are three of her songs, from  the 2005 album “1 cello x 16: natoma”:
Fern  (…sorry for occasional advertisement…)
Walking Man

Jake Shimabukuro captures elements of open water swimming with his ukulele on a song called Heartbeat/Dragon.  I can see a gibbous moon low over Catalina Island,  mountain silhouettes near dawn on the east side of the Lake Tahoe basin, luminescent jellyfish suspended beneath me as I glide among them near Anacapa Island. And for some highly distilled beauty, give a listen to his interpreting of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

How could I undertake a marathon swim in Sweden without recalling that Swedish band from the 70’s, ABBA (Agnetha, Björn, Benny, Anni-Frid)? The beatific smiles, the shimmering outfits, the profoundly moving lyrics. Be purified and exalted, ridiculously so, with these selections:

I saw Cat Stevens perform when I was 17, and his music always reached out to me.  In  the  last years,  as my marathon swimming has been  on the uptick,  a couple  of his  songs  have disambiguated themselves from the many  that are loitering in my psyche.  Swimming in the vast waters, in the right circumstances, can be transcendent, and with good fortune you can momentarily feel everything emptying Into White.
Also, as the distant shores begin to take  shape, Longer Boats stirs.

As I was reading up on Walpurgis Night, I found a song I listened to in high school, by Black Sabbath. I knew the song as War Pigs, but learned that is was originally called Walpurgis. Here it is, with its original lyrics that featured witches rather than War Pigs’ generals.

The swim is only 26 days out now,  and I’ve been putting  in  a lot of  meters in  the pool  and the ocean.  A few days  ago  I  did  a 10.2 mile  workout on a Friday,  and then  did  the same  workout  the  next day, thus  swimming  the  distance of the  lake (20.3 miles)  in two  workouts.   Workouts like  those are great confidence builders,  and  they  indicate,  much  like  the  song by  the  Flight  of the Conchords,  that it’s Business Time.