Apropos of nothing in particular, I was thinking about the articles and videos that circulated a few summers ago, the ones that cautioned that drowning doesn’t look like drowning.  (Here is an early one, in case you missed it.)

It’s not big, dramatic, splashy, noisy. No. It’s not represented by the flailing of arms and desperate gasping and calling out.


Drowning is the body doing what the body does in response the lungs filling with water. The arms float, the head bobs, the lips open and close, like fish-mouths, saying nothing at all.

Drowning sounds like silence. With lungs full of water, the drowning person cannot call out. With limited oxygen in the muscles, they cannot reach for the buoy, cannot hold on to the life raft.

The drowning person confounds expectations.

So many things do. Have you noticed?


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