Plunging into autumn: last swim of the season

Last week I found myself mourning the end of a season.  A friend of mine (who introduced me to all things Durham when I first moved here, or at least many wonderful things, such as our amazing swimming holes) has a rule: Swimming is permitted (read: tolerable to pleasant) after three days in a row of highs above 80.  As I browsed the ten day outlook on and saw just one day that barely hit 80 and was forecasted to be rainy, I began to sulk.

I thought about the last swim I had had.  But wait! I wasn’t ready for that one to be my last! It was much too casual! With an hour to kill, I decided to go for a quick dip–had I known it would be my last swim of the season, I would’ve had more intentionality around it.  Would’ve given it the reverence it deserves.

So as the temperature climbed to a near record high of 85 yesterday, and despite the fact that it had been steadily in the 70s all the days prior, I threw caution to the wind, tossed the three day rule out the window, and decidedly claimed stake in my last swim of the season.

I plunged my body into the stingingly chilled waters, feeling baptized, much like being bathed in sweat and various bodily fluids with my lover the other night.

A gift. A prayer. Mi bendición.

As my limbs started to tingle and then lose feeling, I channeled my practice of yoga (“You get to choose”–My lovingly sadistic instructor’s favorite line) and Chose to kick. To keep going. I can take this.


I breathed into the challenging sensation as I do in yoga…in bdsm…in heartbreak.

Willing myself forward, cutting waves through the now all-too-still river, I swam and swam until my heart felt contented. A ritual complete. Leaves of red, orange, yellow floating on the surface of the water, clinging to bits of my flesh on my shoulders, arms, chest. I breathed it all in–it smelled so distinctly of fall. And I thought about falling.

Fall. My favorite season. Nothing quite smells like it.

I could’ve stayed much longer in those icy, cleansing waters after my body settled in…but I had a date….

About Kiki DeLovely

I’m a queer, kinky, poly, witchy, femme, erotica writer who has lived and performed all over the U.S., as well as internationally. I’ve toured with Body Heat: Femme Pour Tour and various gender-based performance troupes and am published in numerous books, newspapers, and magazines. My greatest passions include searching out secret spots in nature, Oxford commas, deep woo, doing research for my writing, and bringing queer, kinky, smart smut to the masses. I long for/strive toward erotica that reads as fine literature, makes us think, and helps us connect with our spiritual selves. she/her/ella
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