Deep Water : Notes

In  Deep Water, the writer William  Douglas discusses  fear and ways to overcome  it. He relates experiences from his own life  to  tell  us that  any fear can be overcome with grit and determination.

As a young boy of ten or eleven Douglas was  pushed into the YMCA pool at Yakima  by a  senior . The experience was traumatic and left a stigma on his psyche which would not heal for a very long time.  Not until, Douglas decided to take charge of driving  the fear away from his mind.

Douglas’   aversion to water  had started  much earlier  when he was a kid of 3 or 4 years. His father had taken him to the beach in California. As he  stood in the surf with his father, a sudden wake knocked him down.  Though his father merely laughed it off , the experience left a lasting impression on young  Douglas mind. When later he nearly drowned in the  YMCA pool, Douglas decided to stay away from water.

Even as an adult at  Tieton or Bumping River or  in the Warm Lake of the Goat Rocks  Douglas could never enjoy himself, the terror of water always left him numb and shaken. It was then that he decided to seek  professional help.

The instructor  who took up the task  tied a belt around Douglas and using a pulley took him  over the pool again and again for  5 days.   Each time the instructor ,relaxed his grip and let the writer hit the pool,  a panic stricken Douglas almost froze in fear.

With repeated practice and encouragement from the instructor, Douglas  learned to put his head under water.  He was then made to hold on to the end of the pool and simply kick  with his legs.

Slowly, he learned  to relax in water. The  instructor built a swimmer in Douglas, piece by piece, brick by brick. But he was not yet convinced of his total recovery from fear, until he took his final test at Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire .

There he dived off a dock at Triggs Island and swam two miles across the lake to stamp Act Island.  He tried every known technique of swimming and felt afrraid only once.  When the fear threatened  to  attack , the writer  mocked it saying, Well, Mr Terror, what do you think you can do to me? It fled and he swam on.

When the writer went up to Tieton to Conrad Meadows, up the Conrad Creek Trail to Meade Glacier  and dived across Warm Lake , he knew that he  had conquered his fear of water in totality.

The writer quotes  Roosevelt who  said ,“All we have to fear is fear itself”. Deep Water is all about the fact that no fear is unconquerable.



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