Snorkeling in seven-degree weather

Lily and Maya in the water at Denver Divers

Lily and Maya with their snorkeling instructor this afternoon at Denver Divers.

Occasionally the full ridiculousness of modern, rich-country existence slaps you square on the cheek. It should happen more often. This morning, I was washing off fresh raspberries when I told Maya, 8, “You know, this is kind of miraculous. It’s two degrees Fahrenheit outside and here are these raspberries.”

Scuba tanks and snow

Scuba tanks in wait beneath a window shielding them from the 7-degree weather outside.

That wasn’t the slap, though — merely the sort of thing we should all take a moment now and then to consider. Rather, not three hours later, we were over at Denver Divers at 6th Avenue and Milwaukee (in Milwaukee, the dive shop is at Sixth and Denver). I have driven by the shop hundreds of times and always chuckled at the idea of a dive shop at a mile elevation. One of the great alliterative oxymorons in retailing, probably. But an interesting place inside, full of gear and fins and masks and wet suits for sale, most without prices (if you’re hardcore enough to dive in Denver, one spares no expense). It was also tropically humid. One of the lady workers was chipping thick ice from the bottom of the swinging metal-glass doors.

It  was humid because about half the square footage is occupied by a sizable swimming pool. In it, the girls took a snorkeling lesson. Because it is inadvisable to snorkel without proper training. It was 7 degrees outside at the time. Weirdest thing was, once they were in the water, it didn’t seem strange at all.