It’s not the winter itself that breaks me. I can almost cope with the perpetual wind, rain and darkness. What breaks me is the mud, that by now has been churned up everywhere. After several months of wintery weather, the moving of vehicles in various states of repair around our house, and just not having a chance to dry out before the next downpour, by mid-February it feels like everywhere is a complete quagmire. Just getting from the car to the front door involves much squelching. So here’s to the early signs that every day is a day closer to Spring.
For someone who famously hates winter and moans about it so much, I’ve at least made my best efforts to embrace the elements this year instead of resenting them. After my first sea swim on January 12th I’ve now done 14 and loved every one of them. If I’m not swimming outdoors, I’m reading about swimming outdoors, dreaming about swimming outdoors or looking at pictures of other people swimming outdoors. What started off as a self-inflicted, one-off dare to myself has become something so enjoyable and so accessible.
I say enjoyable – but the reality is I feel a whole mixture of feelings prior to going in. There’s an adrenaline rush as I prepare, and gather all my things for afterwards. (hot drinks, towel, layers, layers, layers) but there’s also often a slight feeling of dread, a what on earth am I doing? this is insanity feeling as I drive to the chosen destination. (I’m told by a seasoned and excellent outdoor swimmer that this never really goes away) and then I enter the water, and the cold takes my breath away, and I swim and breathe out and squeal a bit for the first 90 seconds, then exhilaration kicks in as I acclimatize and allow the endorphin release to take over. I’m yet to master a dignified ‘getting dressed’ routine but I’m getting quicker. I journal ever swim and dedicate each one to someone. Today’s was dedicated to Erika, who once said she wanted to be like me when she was older. Well being like me involves getting in the sea at four degrees so be careful what you wish for readers.
It’s been a week of receiving things for absolutely no reason other than I have amazing friends who seem to know me and know what I like. For instance, this mug was my first gift of the week. I absolutely love it! and I don’t know when they took that photo of me diving to recreate it so well 😉
Secondly I was given a box of pencils. What’s the big deal about that? you ask. Well these were ‘keeping it real’ pencils with captions on them that were so me it was if they were hand made for me. In fact my friend said it was like they had my name in neon lights above them.
The struggle is real
Finally, on Friday afternoon, my colleague walks into my office with this bad boy. And all my Christmases came at once. I must make it my mission to pay it forward. I know how nice it is to be on the receiving end.
This week I finished reading The Witch Finder’s Sister by Beth Underdown. A powerful novel based on the real Matthew Hopkins a notorious witchfinder in the 1600’s. A novel full of history about the horrific way women were treated when being tried as witches, when they were totally innocent. Those poor helpless women, at the mercy of men who became obsessed with regarding everyone with suspicion to the point of trying them in one-sided trials and devious means. A well-written history lesson in a novel.
Yesterday it rained non stop. I thought I might wake up to find myself underwater. Orkney was pretty flooded, so what else is there to do but get in the sea? if you can’t beat it you might as well join it.
Have a great week everyone.