(Im)Patience (Week 3 in Swimming)

Week three began in Pt. Reyes at my gorgeous writing retreat. It rained and rained and I cozied up in my little writing hut and luxuriated in time and creativity. When we lost power, I snuggled by the fire with books and my journal and I slept more than I have for years. I felt infinitely grateful for these four days.

By the time I got home, I was desperately missing swimming in the bay. The worst of the storms had passed, but most folks continued to stay away out of concerns about water safety. According to the San Francisco Baykeepers, at least 22 million gallons of sewage water was released into the bay during the two weeks of storms that ushered in 2023. Possibly more. It’s a pretty grim situation, but how grim is hard to say; getting accurate data on local water quality is tough. For a few days, I waited patiently and erred on the side of caution. But by Thursday morning, I decided I was ready to risk whatever might be lurking in the water. Sheila felt the same and so we jumped in for a sunrise swim at the Bulb.

Bits of plastic and paper bobbed on the surface. Below, the water was muddy brown, but the sunrise cast its magical light and if I didn’t look too closely, I could focus on the beauty. And it felt so good to get back into the water that I didn’t really care what I was swimming through. The water temperature was 51.

By Saturday, a big group was back at the bulb and I was so happy to see all of the familiar faces.

The sun was shining and the bay was calm and glassy. It was still a murky, muddy brown, but with less garbage bobbing along the surface. I had a good, strong swim out past the little tree. I was mostly by myself because I didn’t have my chatty crew, which was conducive to going longer and working harder.

The water was 50 degrees and I experienced after-drop like I haven’t in a long time. My cold water dunking has kept me acclimated to the cold in the sense that it’s not especially difficult to get in, but it hasn’t kept me acclimated to staying in the cold for a while. I took a nice long walk in the bulb, though, and was soon nice and warm. 

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