In the recent post about my short career as an Axman I mentioned that at night and on week ends we kept our work horse stabled in an enclosure by a nearby pond. It was a rather large, naturally formed pond, deep, and ringed all around by large water oaks whose limbs reached far out over the water.
Every now and then, when there was not much for me to do, I would wander off down to the pond for a little while. I enjoyed walking out over the water on the limbs, and it could be done safely as there were many others to hold to.
One day while I was standing on one of these limbs, over what I knew to be deep water, I decided that I should learn to swim. I had often watched others swimming, and I reasoned that if I jumped off into water over my head, and kept my wits, and did what I had seen others do, I must surely make progress back toward the shore.
I rehearsed for a few moments what I thought to be the appropriate strokes, and decided that when I first hit the water I would let myself go under and bob up, then start swimming. I rehearsed the procedure once more in my mind, then stood up and jumped off. Everything went exactly as I had predicted, and I have been swimming ever since.