Sea swimming in spring (an instant poem)
Perfection is a word both dangerous and deceptive when applied as an absolute brutal and strong. But the word in my mouth this morning is delicate and elusive more tentative than conclusive. When I leave home for the gym I’m often thinking, no, this is no day for a swim. But then I see the sea ahead and all my wimpiness has fled. It’s dead. A blue sea with sunshine sparkling a grey sea soaking up a cloud reflection a black sea gritty with icy flecks a brown sea growling with breakers a green sea with puzzling projections They’re all perfect. In their way. So is the cold, the wet silk the medium like thickened air that my arms push through and yet are one with, part of. So is the damp wind perfect and the open space — a space to be with others a space to be alone and feel the sunshine or the drizzle smoothing your face. I love the passing conversations with the dabblers and the paddlers. I love the mighty distance swimmers. One of them blind, all of them shining with that triumphant swimmers’ joy. I love the seabirds pottering and fishing I love the children on the beach I love the heavenly extension when I shut my eyes and whisper I am the sea and the sea is me. and when I rise like Venus from the froth of foam every time the pinch of a new surprise. I love sea swimming in spring love it in winter love it in autumn I even kind of love it in the summer. — Rachel McAlpine
Do try cold water swimming if it appeals
Or in autumn. (Build up to winter swimming.) It’s very popular nowadays, for multiple reasons. But be warned: once you start, you may be unable to break this peculiar new habit.
People who live in Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington — or almost any city in Aotearoa New Zealand — are very, very spoiled when it comes to sea swimming. I swim at Freyberg Beach, right in the city harbour, and our water is usually clean. If in doubt, we can check the state of the water on the LAWA website: it’s checked twice daily.
Ready to start cold water swimming? Cold Water Swimming for Beginners is a wonderfully helpful resource. It’s intended for swimmers in the UK, but the principles are the same anywhere. Join the ever-expanding club!
Warning: an instant poem is far from perfect
Some might call this poem doggerel. I wouldn’t blame them. But this is a blog, and sometimes I like just to type in a hurry and share before editing. It’s fun. I don’t care if you think I’m a bad poet. I’m a good poet who is dangerously free of shame in that respect. Now I’ve got a rough draft, which is much better than no draft. Is that how you approach writing? As a swimmer I’m similar. (Oh wow, what a fabulous rhyme!) I just get in the sea and do it, and admire the fabulous ocean swimmers. I’ll never be them and I give them my heartfelt admiration.Follow Write Into Life