I am hopelessly addicted to water. It flows through my earliest memories and laps at my dreams as I fall asleep; commands my attention whenever I am near any, and crashes through everything else in waves. I submit to this addiction. Willingly. I even love things remotely associated with water, however tenuously. For instance, I bought a mug yesterday because it reminded me of the colour of a lake in Snowdonia. I love Colin Firth, because he dove in to that reedy pool in the BBC’S Pride and Prejudice. I couldn’t care less about Mr Darcy at that point, I just craved the sensation of being immersed, and gliding along underwater. It is exactly the same yearning I get when reading about Ralph plunging in to the ‘green pool’ in Lord of the Flies. Sod the island, its what surrounds it that fixates me.
I am also obsessed with the colours of water. For years I have searched for a pale yet vibrant green that I briefly gimpse in the barrel waves of Porthcurno beach. It is visible, but so fleeting, and maybe that is why I love it. Perhaps it can’t be captured, and that is why it is so precious. I have seen it underwater, but just as a flicker before I have to surface. Swimming underwater will always be special. Ever since shooting down the river rapids head first at Center Parcs, I have been a devotee. The thin sheet of water on flumes looks silver when within it, nestled nose-down like an otter. I think I must have been an otter in a past existence. Gavin Maxwell says that water must be played with, and I agree. It has always brought me endless fun, alone or accompanied.
I also dream about water. There is one recurrent dream that does not come frequently enough. It is more a replay of an evening than a dream, but the actual event had a very dream-like quality, and occasionally my subconcious lets me enjoy it again. I once took part in a week-long Summer camp for many noisy 11 year olds. With three colleagues, we kept them entertained from dawn till dusk, amidst 38 degree heat and a cacophony of noise. On the evening in question I had half an hour to myself, and sprinted for the river. It is a deep, fast-flowing one that carves its way through tree roots and smoothes a fine sandy bed beneath it. Fully clothed (there is something fantastic about thumping in to water when fully clothed), I shot in to the water, blew out all air in my lungs and opened my eyes. Settling down to the bottom felt like heaven, and I have never forgotten that sensation. Opening my eyes, I could see the current flowing by, and bands of sunlight oscillating around me. It was magic. I want to dream of it again. Perhaps I will tonight.