A Very Cold Morning

When I woke up to frost on all the windows, I did not want to swim. I made my tea and wrote in my journal and thought, “I won’t go unless someone else instigates it.” Five minutes later, my phone buzzed and a text from Angie said she’d pick me up in fifteen minutes.

By the time we arrived at the bulb, I was glad to be there despite the frigid wind and gray, daunting water. A group was yelping their way in as we stripped off our outer layers and shivered our way down to the water. Kaushik, Angie, and I waded tentatively in and the stabbing shards of cold that pricked my thighs, let me know what I later confirmed on my thermometer: this was my coldest swim at the Albany Bulb. 47°. We launched in and all went our separate ways. 47° is too cold for chatting. At these temperatures, it’s all about breathing and experiencing the overwhelming sensations in my body. It’s an entirely in my body and in the moment swim.

It was fantastic.

While I’m here, I will state the obvious: My intention to keep up a weekly blog has fizzled. I’ve always been better at doing something every day than I have been at doing something “often.” I’m also busy trying to write my year of swimming into something like a memoir and that has taken up the bulk of my creative energies around swimming.

But I have been swimming.

I’ve settled into a comfortable routine of four to five days a week in the bay. Every day is different; temperatures have fluctuated from today’s crazy 47° to 53° over the last three weeks, often bouncing above and below the 50° mark from one day to the next. It’s been foggy and windy, clear and hazy, bloody cold and summery warm. A typical erratic California winter. My dry case for my phone died and I haven’t bought a new one, so these pictures are a smattering of the last few weeks before the demise of the case.

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