In my last blog entry, I mentioned that I grew up in the Texas hill country. In the course of writing that entry, I ran across this photo of the swimming hole where I spent most of my summers.
This swimming hole is on Rebecca Creek, located about a mile from my house. In the photo, you can see a concrete platform with a ladder out of the water and a very large cypress tree next to it. When I was young, there was a platform about 8 feet above the concrete platform, though it was cut down when I was a teenager.
The swimming hole is about ten feet deep, and when I was growing up, there were 2×4 steps nailed up the cypress tree. The first branch over the water is at about 35 feet with an awesome rope swing hanging from it. Originally, you could swing off the platform, but after that was gone, we just climbed a few steps up the tree to swing. A rope swing that long makes for a nice wide arc over the water.
You could also jump directly from the tree, either from any step or by climbing up to the first limb. I still remember the first time I jumped from the limb. I was probably eight or nine years old.
The steps led to two higher branches, maybe 45 and 55 feet, but I never went up to those branches–not because I was afraid of jumping from those heights, but because it was more difficult to get from the steps out onto the branches. That part scared me.
In the summer, there were always people at the swimming hole–if not swimmers, then teenagers hanging out, drinking, and/or smoking pot. I didn’t partake, but I was known to be ‘cool’ about it.
There were a lot of disadvantages to living in such a remote location–the solitude and loneliness, the 1-2 hour bus rides each way to school, etc.–but all in all, I consider myself pretty damn lucky to have lived in such a place, and the swimming hole was a big part of it.
We had a professional family portrait made in this same location when the kids were young. This past weekend, we updated it with our current family.