I will always prefer jumping into a brisk lake than the salty ocean.
For the most part this is entirely due to experience – growing up in the Finger Lakes meant the water was fine and abundant. I was surrounded by water: the Finger Lakes, two Great Lakes, Long Pond, and a multitude of large ponds and waterways. Canaseraga Creek flowed right through my backyard.
In fact, there is so much natural, fresh water where I’m from, that pools were exciting and somewhat exotic to me; no one really needed them! My family was more likely to have a kayak or a jet ski than a diving sticks or pool floats. Even our lounging tubes were made of thick rubber –otherwise they would’ve popped on the shallow rocks as we floated down the creek. Butt up!
I remember thinking it was the greatest thing in the world when my grandparents put in a generic, 4-foot-deep above-ground pool in the backyard. But I slowly came to learn that there’s really not much to explore in such a space. Turns out I’m not such a huge fan of swimming in circles.
Along with sheer space and area to roam, freshwater swimming holes provided plenty of entertainment.
For example, bringing a pool-swimmer to the creek and watching her shriek when a fish brushed her leg was always great fun. No worries though, she’d be giggling by the end of the trip – at one point a relative called the occasional swishes “fish kisses.”
Who needed horror movies to have a good time when you could just think about phantom snakes and leeches (neither of which like moving water in the first place)? Whenever one of my cousins got a little too big for his britches, I would ask him if he wanted to go snapping turtle hunting.
But mischievous childhood fun aside, to this day I consider it blissful to get a good day out on the water. It doesn’t matter if it’s bobbing along on a boat on Lake Ontario, being dragged and clinging for life to a giant tube behind my great-uncle’s speedboat, jumping off a dock at Canandaigua Lake, or just sitting with my toes in a nice, crisp creek with a drink and a book –each experience has a special place in my heart.
Surfer’s tend to say that there’s saltwater in their veins. With as much time as my family and I have spent living in the region, there must be a little bit of Finger Lakes in my blood, too.
By Halie Solea