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Tuesday, 11 September 2012


By Johna Ferguson

I don’t know how much any of you know about the insect order Lepidoptera but for those not familiar with that word, I’m sure you all know about butterflies.

When I was in grade school, our teacher explained the various stages of the butterfly and I was mesmerized that the pupa could emerge from that ugly being into such a beautifully colored butterfly.

I’ve never forgotten that lesson and am still awed by the variety of colors on some butterflies' wings. Well, I experienced something akin of that last week. Just imagine the pupa all wrapped up and unable to move and then slowly emerging and stretching its wings for flight.

When I signed in to go into my gym the other day, I saw a friend’s name just above mine. I knew she and the woman she helps must be in the pool area and since I had a few minutes before my aerobics class, I decided to drop by and say hello. But there was no one there except one woman in a white swim cap swimming the crawl doing lengths of the pool.

Then my friend popped her head around the corner. She’d been out in the courtyard getting some fresh air. I asked her where her handicapped friend was and realized it was her doing all that vigorous swimming, back and forth.

To say the least, I was shocked for here was the older, bend-over, very arthritic woman who must use a walker swimming so freely and with good style I might add. It truly took me back to the day I discovered about butterflies.

This was equally as beautiful a sight to me, her purple swim suit cutting through the water just like a new butterfly through the air as though she had no handicap at all. It was truly amazing.

Therefore, I just had to write about it to let my delight be shared by others not only to let her know how happy I was for her to be so free from her encumbrances in that small pool, but to show others an insight into one woman’s determination to keep her body moving, no matter how big the problem.

I must say it was a very proud and enlightening moment for me.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Good for you - and her. I too see people who are terribly handicapped while out of water, gliding through it like silk. It is good for the soul to see, and a good lesson.

Johna - Great story!

My younger sister used in-water therapy to regain strength and muscle functionality after an horrendous automobile accident in the 1990's. After being told she would never walk again, thanks to water therapy, today in her early seventies, she not only walks and runs, but competes in and frequently wins senior tennis tournaments! - Sandy

Beautiful story Johna..

I recently renewed my pool membership to swim laps and witness people my age (70) and older, with and without handicaps, enjoying the benefits of the water.

What a wonderful story and great reminder to us all to remember a handicap of old or young can respond differently to different environments.
Thanks for sharing with such insight.


I love the way you wrote your story. I could just see that woman,who was in such bad shape ashore, gracefully cutting through the water in her purple suit..What a beautiful picture you painted for us.. Thanks!

Thanks, Johna, Had I not recently already rejoined the pool after a 2-3-year hiatus, I would have run right out and joined after reading your post.It feels wonderful, and like your friend, I am a graceful "dancer" in the water-something I will never again be able to be on dry land.Yes, I get more tired than I did a few years ago, but it's so worth it.

You present a lovely picture with your observation. I am able to see the purple suit gliding through the water and a look of pleasure on your face.

Johna, you told a beautiful tale of metamorphosis, but you also showed your own beautiful spirit. It was doubly enchanting.

Lovely story reminding me of a good friend who swims regularly with another friend who has to use a walker and what wonders it does for their mobility despite arthritis.

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