Shit I miss the sea and rivers. Like, miss so much there aren’t any words. I have often found myself tearing up about how much I miss the sea. That’s why when I hopped on the train headed west, yesterday, I couldn’t stop grinning. For the last six months I have felt like my title of The Cold Water Swimming Nutcase I have always held amongst my friends, has been a bit of a fraud because my toes have barely even touched water, let alone my whole body been submerged. I’m talking the wild stuff. Obviously I wash (regularly).
I am back by my beloved countryside and coast for a few days, and this morning I got to dive head first into the chilly river. YES. It took me a good five minutes stood there in my bikini, knee deep, grinning, and slowly letting my legs go numb so the water felt warm, before I dived in. This is my tactic. Let yourself freeze a bit because the colder you are the warmer it feels, yo. I swum around and just smiled. It was when I had to check that my limbs were still attached, that I decided it was time to get out.
Never ever will I lose this love for water or this desire to dive in whenever I see some. The wilder the better. There is just something so magical about being tucked in the eddy of a river somewhere, just you and the wild around you. And then the odd passing-by hiker who looks at you as though you’re nuts. This always brings my amusement when people look at me incredibly puzzled as I strip down to my pants and dive in. Round these parts though, it’s more of a done thing.
Last summer I was so desperate for some wild water whilst in the city, that I found the nearest strip of woodland an attempted a swim in the stream. It was just this though – a stream. The water was approximately 5 cm deep, so this swim attempt became a lie down and rest instead. Not quite the same but the hilarity was nice.
I used to joke that I had some kind of disorder that I couldn’t see water and not get in it…and friends would probably agree with this one. But like some ‘disorders’ you need to work on them, this one ain’t going anywhere. It’s a massive love, not a disorder anyways. It’s a need just like I need food. It always has been, and it always will be. When Wild Swimming became this cool trendy thing to do, I felt super confused because it was just a normal thing to do…wasn’t it? Since when did it have a title and an ‘image’? This gets my goat. The real wild swimmers are the ones that do it naturally, not walking around with a guide book.
Water to me just means healing. It’s like the epitome of all things health, nurturance, wholesomeness, vitality, and life, wrapped up in a chilly or warming liquid blanket. So often I just visualise myself swimming, or when I’m stood by some water I just imagine the water running through me as though we’re one, but the fact that these next few days I actually get to BE IN SOME is so amazing. And couldn’t be more needed.