Medium Short: Life Into the Current

A week where the River taught the lesson and I swam along

B. Lorraine Smith


The view from where I swim in the mighty St. Lawrence River each morning. Just to the right — upriver — are the Lachine Rapids which I can see bouncing in front of me at eye level as I swim into the current.

Welcome to the latest Medium Short, an accountability practice to keep me semi-tethered as I feel my way along the unmarked trail of industrial healing. Published weekly every Friday, I first introduced the idea here.

Swimming into — not against — the current

I usually run in the morning, but the summer heat plus the proximity to one of the most beautiful rivers in the world has prompted me to swim, either instead or also.

As is to be expected with a river, there is a current. It’s swimmable in the spot where I swim, but a current always needs to be respected. I usually swim upriver first, noticing how slowly the shore moves behind me as I look to my right. Then I turn and swim back towards the dock, letting the current move me quickly along the (rather short!) distance I managed to cover, the shore now rushing past. I do this a few times if I am feeling ambitious.

During these delicious swims, dear River has stirred wonder even more than usual as compared to when I run along her banks. For instance, I wonder:

  • Why do we typically say, “one swims against a current”? That seems unnecessarily harsh: against. What about into? I don’t feel against anything as I swim up river, though it’s challenging.
  • Wording aside, when is it better to swim into the current, versus letting it carry us easily along in the opposite direction?
  • How do some creatures move so swiftly into the current? What secrets are revealed if I follow in their webbed finsteps?

More Matereality Material

I may have been swimming into the current a little at my desk this week, too, come to think of it.

I understand that most won’t wade through a longish article about a bank, much less dive into the full slide deck and supporting videos. Yet there are juicy findings that I want to make accessible, so I shared a brief look at one of the findings earlier this week: “Indigenous Peoples Are Not a Topic”. I’ve got a few more to come — hopefully making it easier for folks to swim in the River Matereality.



B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact.