When I was in first or second grade, my class took a field trip to an Albertson’s grocery store. It was the very same Albertson’s I’d shopped at a hundred times with my dad and brother, but to go with my classmates cast it in a whole new light; it was special and strange; the familiarity made novel by being there in those circumstances. Plus we got to go into the back, learned how they stocked the milk into the milk refrigerators, and were each given a cookie with rainbow sprinkles from the bakery on our way out.
Today a bunch of the Albany Bulb and Keller beach swimmers took a field trip to Heart’s Desire beach. A much more promising location than Albertson’s, but similarly, the fact of being there with my fellow swimmers made this familiar place seem even more magical than usual.
It felt like we’d stepped through a portal to a tropical island (albeit one with very cold water). The sun basked us in its warmth and the water was clear and a few degrees warmer than our usual spots. There weren’t even any jellies to give us a scare. We each swam at our own pace, which for me, is slow and chatty, with plenty of time to stop and take pictures.