Swimming in the Ocean

Aquatic Park
I just had this gut feeling yesterday morning that I didn’t want to go swimming. I wasn’t sure what it was. One friend got sick and couldn’t go, but before I could cancel it, had a discussion with another friend who was really excited, as it was her first time. So I rallied.

We met at Nook and tried valiantly to get energized to go – read: had a glass of wine. The afternoon was turning chilly and a brisk wind had picked up, carrying with it the Dreaded Fog.

So then we walk for about twenty minutes to my place, get in the bare essentials: swimsuit, sweats, and a key around my neck with a safety pin.

We walk down the 6 or so blocks to Aquatic Park. My friend is really being valiant. I’m saying stuff like “If we don’t’ see any swimmers, we shouldn’t go in.” And, “You’ll want to wear a bright suit in case…” and she finishes my sentence. “The Coast Guard needs to find us?”

She makes a joke about testing the water, and I’m like, “No way, we have to just dive in.” Sure enough, we plunge in and start screaming with the cold. Even though I know I have to wait a few minutes while the panic attack subsides, something in me knows it’s not gonna happen. I stand up in the shallows, try to warm my arms. Back, we plunge in. Ugh. It’s still cold but warming up strangely. Well, then we realize we can’t feel our extremities!

I am wearing my new Barracuda rubber swim hat, which worked like a dream! Even though I was really cold, I didn’t get that ice cream headache, and my ears didn’t hurt at all.

So we spend a few more attempts at swimming, backstroke, side stroke, trying to get some distance and do some exercise. Then I just call it a day. And stumble on some rocks and get a nasty gash on my leg.

Standing in back of the Rowing Club, unpinning my keys with numb, dumb fingers and slowly scraping off sand from our feet, we feel amazing. Just great. It’s that shock of something all over you that makes you feel your body all over again.

At dinner we’d interject little updates: “I can feel my feet.” “My back just hurt.” It’s like being born again, as if we remember the first time.

So despite the freezing cold, it did re-inspire me. I didn’t have that feeling that I get sometimes while sailing, where I see a body fo water and just want to dive off and swim, but it did help just totally un-funkify myself.

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