I'm drawn to it—the waves, the lakes, the rivers and the rain. In addition to making time for more long-distance swimming in Lake Allatoona, this summer I rafted the white waters of the Ocoee River in Tennessee—the upper section, site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater competition, and middle section, where a Class IV rapid known as "Grumpy's" would weeks later claim two women's lives.
Rapids are classified I through VI based on difficulty and risks, according to americanwhitewater.org.
My grandmother, a Blue Ridge resident we lovingly call "Nenny," aware of my recent guided whitewater rafting trip ALONE—a detail that sent shivers down her and mom's spines—mailed me a newspaper clipping detailing the two drownings in one weekend, with a note that reads:
I'm sending this article from the Fannin County paper about two women who drowned on the Ocoee River.
It scares me to think you have rafted the Ocoee twice safely, thank God.
I love you very much,
Actually, I have three times rafted the Ocoee River—known as the Toccoa River in Georgia—once with a dear friend and once with an awesome group of Patch coworkers. I've recently and in the past tubed the calmer Toccoa, where my grandparents, Nenny and "Poppy," introduced my cousins and I, as children, to a wonderful world of natural beauty, wholesome fun and amazing adventure.
I don't want Nenny or anyone else to worry, but Grumpy's and the other Class III and IV rapids were one of my biggest thrills of the summer of 2013 (Stone Mountain was awesome, too). Despite the danger, the roaring rapids—like the calm waters of Lake Allatoona and the rough waves of the seas—entice and enthrall me, and I must heed their call.
I need to swim. The water is home to me. And no pool—exclusive of my own hot tub for relaxation—will do. Did I mention I love the oceans, too?
I recently bought a wetsuit and plan to pursue paddling, diving and any other water sport I can feasibly access as a mom of two—my son's middle name is "Raine"—and the local editor of two lake Patch sites—Cartersville Patch on Allatoona and Cumming Patch on Lake Lanier.
The 12th, and one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, "Pisces" is the Latin word for "fish." In Western superstition, the element associated with the sun sign is water.
"More relaxation for the Fish (Pisces) comes in the way of sports, specifically water sports," according to astrology.com. "Pisces loves to swim, and it's this easy glide in a pool or the sea that serves to alleviate much of their stress."
Yeah, I buy it.
And I've had people tell me I'm crazy for swimming in Lake Allatoona, whitewater rafting and venturing far out in the ocean, although I remind them I wear a life jacket (okay, most of the time).