Anyone who has ever seen my pearly whites (read: limbs, not molars) knows the sun and I are distant cousins — the kind who generally only see each other on holidays. But in July, after weeks in a Winnebago with no shower and long days spent digging clams at low tide, my respite and rebirth was found at a secret swimming hole called Spectacle Pond.
Before my daily trips to this gift from the universe, I hadn’t really given myself the time to go swimming — except for those two weeks in college when I decided I would try doing laps in the water instead of on a treadmill or track. I quickly discovered that neither really suited me. Taking a rusted truck deep into a patch of Massachusetts woods to strip down for an unregimented dip, however, felt like finding a missing puzzle piece.
Upon my return home from the Cape, I vowed I would continue to make trips to the water. With a beach just a short drive down the road, I figured it was an easy pact to keep with myself. But it didn’t take long to settle into a routine of worrying about my finances, applying to grad school and doing what I could to start my semi-career as a freelance writer. So quickly, so easily, I forgot how cathartic and cleansing it is to lose yourself in a swim — until last night.
After getting a tight braid from the GRE yesterday afternoon and rolling with the Devils at derby practice that night, a friend suggested a midnight swim in the ocean. It’s not often that I find myself thankful for the weather that we get in the South, but diving into that warm Atlantic water was a sweet reminder of what we have. Taking hits from the waves was like getting a slap on the back of the head from Mother Nature, screaming in her best southern accent, “This is why you’re breathing, honey. This is life.”
Often, I’m the first one to strike a defensive pose when someone makes a comment about size, but wading in that abyss and feeling like a small speck in the whole scheme of things felt really nice. It was like being part of a giant wishing well of sorts — only instead of holding dreams and coins, the salty taste and feel of the ocean represented all the days, frustrations and disappointments that other people like me just needed to wash off as well to remember why they’re alive. Maybe that’s a stretch or nauseating thought for some, but to each her own. I’m relishing that I’ve found my way back to the water, and I didn’t even have to pay for a membership.