Eventually it will happen to you or someone you know. A day will come when a pool somewhere will summon you and you will find yourself inexplicably drawn to the water and what it can do for you.
I can tell you, there are many reasons to swim. I see so many different kinds of swimmers at the pool enjoying themselves for various reasons. Some are professional athletes, some are even former Olympians. Some come for regular exercise and to socialize. And there are many who use the pool as therapy to overcome a serious injury.
Even the greatest hydrophobic can overcome the terror of the water once you realize how magical it really is.
Skeptical? Meet Nina Shorey.
What if your only dream in life was to be a professional dancer. You worked steadily at the dream, and by the time you were twenty-eight, you were well on your way. Let's also say you are also a single mother of a five year old.
Then, one day, everything changed in an instant. Your dream, along with your body would be shattered in seconds on a lonely stretch of highway in Nova Scotia. A driver, hypnotic from the rotating sound of the tires on the pavement and sleepy from the warm sun shining down through the window, would drift asleep at the wheel of her car and careen directly into yours. You would be lucky to survive.
This is exactly what happened to Nina Shorey 28 years ago.
Nina’s journey to the pool was a long time coming. She arrived at the hospital, technically dead and spent four month in the hospital, and, as she told me, ‘had various parts cobbled back together.” There would be years of surgeries to follow. Needless to say, her life took a very different turn.
She began working with a dance acquaintance who repaired vintage flutes. David Shorey was a musician and flute historian who would travel regularly to Europe. He worked at the Library of Congress, and he taught Nina how to handle and repair the instruments.
The first thing you notice about Nina, is her quick smile and many tattoos. The second thing you notice are the long scars running down the sides of her legs from the hip replacement surgeries she needed after being crushed in her car.
Perhaps as a way to begin to understand and accept what happened to her, Nina became an astrologer. She told me the tattoos are astrological symbols she strategically placed on her body to bring certain energies to areas that still plague her with pain. Each tattoo represents a surgery or a scar, and there are quite a few. The one on her solar plexus is meant to help heal her ongoing pain from the heart surgery she had so many years ago.
A second hip replacement surgery in 2004 resulted in the accidental damaging of her femoral nerve, and that’s what left her unable to walk for two years. But she could swim. It turned out to be the one thing that enabled her to walk again.
And this is what I mean about the magic of water. Now, she swims five days a week at the pool. I see her strutting out to the deck in her colorful bikinis, talking with her friends.
She lives happily as an antique flute restorer with her now-husband, David whom she married many years ago. Together they had another son.
One more thing. To this day, Nina doesn’t drive, preferring to ride her bike to the pool each day.
Antique Flute Restorer