Nottawasaga Bay, ON - Marilyn Bell

I read about Watermark and she had sent me three questions which, actually I don’t remember what they are and I didn’t write them down what I did do was, I went to the link that she sent and there were 27 videos on that link and there were all done at the - was it the 2015 gathering? The 2015 Gala.

Tanis yours was the first one that I saw, may I share a little bit about your Watermark? I was thrilled because, you were living in Bermuda, in her video she talked about swimming and seeing all these wonderful fish: barracuda, eels, jellyfish, I don’t have to say anything good about jelly fish for those of you here, we’ve met them personally, not always pleasant. I was fascinated by Tanis’ video and I thought, well I have time so I listened and watched the 27 videos and then I was hooked and then I went back and I did it again.

The point of these videos was the people were telling what their connection to water was. Then I took my shower and I was standing in the shower thinking about how fortunate and grateful I am that I’m able to take this shower in the morning and I don’t have to worry about what’s coming out of the shower head, I’m assuming my water is clear and clean and will clean me. I got then to thinking about all the countries that do not have running water. IF they do have running water you can’t drink it, you can’t cook with it. Then I got thinking about my Watermark.

Of course the thing I thought about, can you guess? Lake Ontario, I thought about it and thought, no, no that’s not it. I thought about the English Chanel and how I was stung so many times with jelly fish and didn’t think I get to see the white cliffs of dover and I thought, no, that’s not it either. I was fascinated, which one of my swims will be my Watermark? Then I realized, none of them, none of them were my Watermark.

My Watermark is two parts. When I was a kid I took swimming lessons when I was about 9 and I learned to swim in a swimming pool. The first time I recall ever being in any kind of a lake or river was in Wasaga Beach. I have a recollection of being in the water with my dad and my dad couldn’t swim and I had just passed my Junior Red Cross swimming test and I thought I was really, really hot. At that time - I don’t know what its like now, this was over 50 years ago, 60 years ago - we walked out forever on this sand bar, just kept walking and walking and it was so wonderful, that idea of just being able, I was reliving it this morning, walking and walking, feeling the water on my body. I was digging, playing in the sand, then we walked back but we had to go out so far before I could show Daddy that I could swim freestyle and take a breath at the same time. That was really my first connection with the water. The following year we went to Midland, I’m pretty sure it was called Little Lake. I remember being in the water with my dad and that year I was able to swim and I was breathing beautifully, it took a year to learn I guess. I thought wow, my connection wasn’t with a big body of water it was the pure simplicity of being with Daddy and being in the water. He still couldn’t swim but he was so proud of me that I could swim.

I just want you to know that this project, about being in connection with the water is so important because I don’t think there’s one person in this room that has not felt that connection in one way or another. Some of us have gone to great extremes with that and that’s wonderful.

… To me it’s such an important project and I really do want to be supportive.

I’m familiar with the Riverkeepers on the Hudson River because live on the Hudson River and my friend Marilyn spent how many hours in the Hudson River? - About 5. I know that the swims in the Hudson River aren’t the greatest swims because sometimes you have a lot of dead stuff floating around and debris and its kind of normal. So they’re working really hard to clean that up and Swim Guide is working for us down there too.

My hope that is each one of you, obviously you don’t have to commit to it but give it some thought please and if you’re ready to share your story I think it's a wonderful opportunity for us to be part of history in a very special way and an important way.

Marilyn Bell

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Nottawasaga Bay, ON
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