Swims that saved me #2

Salcombe Mouth

It’s my last day of being 44 today. I’m in a reflective mood – musing on the turmoil and exhaustion of 2020; the moments of joy and connection.

This swim sums up all that the water has given me this year.

May 2020

The lockdown rules have just been lifted to allow travelling a ‘reasonable distance’ for exercise. After weeks of dunking in shallow muddy streams and a strange smelling gissage in my home town, the longing for the sea is visceral. I’m exhausted from the relentless days of working at the kitchen table and home-schooling.

We walk across empty fields, feeling the buzz of late-spring in the tall grasses.

Descending steep wooden steps to the beach, the sea is glistening – cobalt blue and perfect white horse waves at the shoreline.

The beach is deserted, I throw off my clothes and run into the welcoming arms. I’m almost in tears with gratitude, letting the waves break over my body as I say “hello, hello, beautiful sea”

I want to be enveloped, immersed in the sea with its millennia of knowing. Endless years of gnawing away at the cliffs to reveal their secrets. So many pandemics have come and gone as the sea continues its tides, breathing in… breathing out…

I peel off my swimming costume and stand naked, arms aloft to welcome the sun, the salt, the cold.

I swim, peace descends. It’s just me and the waters that cover the earth.

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