For Lee, immersing herself in a body of water has become “an exercise in getting to know a place,” but also an act of self-care—and there’s a possibility that these two things might actually be one and the same. “Every time I swim in cold water, I feel I’m getting that shock of air in my lungs,” she says. “It feels like I’m actually being in the place that I’m in. There’s a feeling of incredible brightness after a swim. It always cuts through. It sharpens everything.” When Lee speaks about why she started swimming, it is easy to understand how her memoir has resonated with such a large number of readers and reviewers. The solace that can be found in Turning is one that many people today seek in their personal quests for meaning and connection.
When I was a boy, my father had a phase where he was intensely interested in importing and taking care of orchids. I’m not sure where this sudden interest sprung from, but I tend to fall in love hard with hobbies so I understand where I get it from.
The moment the orchids arrived at our house, he informed me that they were notoriously hard to take care of. I asked, “Dad, then why do it?”
He smiled his broad smile and spoke in Mandarin, “Son. Sometimes things are hard. You might fail over and over. You will think to yourself, is it worth it? But over a lifetime, you will learn it’s not you taking care of the plant. The plant is taking care of you.”