My family used to go to a beautiful isolated lake in the Sierras in the ’40s. When I was 4, I fell off the pier and went under water. I still remember looking around in wonder at the underwater world. Luckily, my dad happened to be on the pier and reached down and grabbed me by my overalls. As the oft-repeated family story goes, he asked me what I was thinking about underwater. I said, “I was going to turn on my putt-putt (referring to the outboard motor on our little boat) and come up.”
I’ve had these magical moments in water. Like the day I first went bodysurfing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. We used to have swimming meets at Fleishacker pool, a huge outdoor salt water pool and after a meet one day my teammate Jim Fisher (later a big-wave surfer) took me out into the ocean. Blue skies, blue water (no wetsuits), the big swells, I was in heaven. Under waterfalls, in clear creek pools, hot springs, warm ocean, cold river. Getting in charges you with the energy of that spot on the planet. If you’re a water person you know what I mean.