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 weather.com 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….