I went swimming today.
Yes, it’s almost November.
Yes, the water is cold.
And yes, I might be crazy.
My husband and I have made a pact to attempt to swim in our pool through the winter, exercising our version of a Polar Bear Club experience.
Cold-water swimming is supposed to be good for you… right?
At first we talked about it jokingly, but here we are, well into Autumn and still swimming, while most pools are closed for the Winter- but we never close our pool anyway, so why not use it?
We assume that as long as we take a dip at least every few days or so then we will gradually get accustomed to the chilly waters and eventually won’t even notice.
I tell myself every time, before entering the water, that it’ll feel great, and refreshing, and that it really isn’t all that cold, and that today really isn’t any cooler out than yesterday was, and yesterday’s swim felt FANTASTIC…
But then my big toe hits the surface and suddenly I realize that this will suck- because swimming right now SUCKS.
It almost hurts, the paralyzingly-cold water.
I stand on the highest platform, submerged to my ankles and bargain with myself.
Maybe I’ll just stand here until I get used to it- yeah that’s it, I’ll get used to it- and once I do, the body-submersion part won’t suck because… because I’ll be used to it.
I generally stand there until I can no longer feel my feet ( A lack of feeling clearly signifies that I’m used to it… I think). Then I descend the steps, which leaves me about ribcage-deep, which I invariably try to offset by standing on my tiptoes.
Right there I’ll stay and stall until I muster the courage to push off the wall and make the full plunge.
Huffing, I manage to glide across the pool to the far side, and by the time I’ve caught my breath from the shock I remember why I keep coming back.
In that moment my senses transport me to an early-Spring mountain-camping trip, by the backdrop of a shallow creek.
The first whispers of the changing season, in the form of daffodils and a bit of warm sun on the shoulders encourage one to forget time and place and consider braving the frigid waters, only for the purpose of, just for a moment, pretending to be in the throes of summer.
This Moment feels like creek.
This Moment smells like creek.
By the time I make this association I’m all good, and I know that I’ll survive the experience.
So I swim a few laps, spend some time floating face-up and floating face-down, and then depart.
In a deck-chair, wrapped in a towel covered with cartoonish goldfish, I feel wonderful.
I’ve forgotten completely about my screaming big toe and how it made me think that this would suck.
As it turns out my big toe was wrong, that was refreshing… now get outta my way Mr. Chair- I need a hot shower.