The Taste of Water

Nov 9.

Today the sun is shining. When I walk outside into it, I think of Walden Pond. But the wind is cold and a gust curls around my face whispering ‘winter’. How many degrees will the water have dropped since Monday? How cold would my hands get? It must be very low in the fifties now. My head hurts near the base of my skull today.

I was born and grew up in Australia. I hate the cold of Boston’s winter. Especially because I have to give up the swimming.

I walked along Spy Pond this afternoon and looked at that alluring sparkle. Sun on water. How deceiving! Then wind blew white feathers topping the blue. Tomorrow.

Years ago, when swimming took on a new meaning for me, especially winter swimming, I would take a thermos of hot water to pour into my diver mitts before I got into the water. I wore diver booties too. And perhaps five different layers. Layer upon layer of neoprene or thin poly-something-material made into a water shirt. A diver’s hood. Every stitch of my body was covered in black except a small region around my nose and mouth. And it I bathed in vaseline.


At first it was just freedom. Though with the restriction of neoprene, breathing against it pushing in on your lungs, limiting the rotation of the head… With that much and that many layers, it was limiting.

But then it became a ‘test’.

……If I can do this I can face all those indescribable moments in life that make it one-big-challenge….

And their have certainly been moments in life since that have ‘tested‘ me to the hilt….dealing with cancer in one of my children…

I always lived like someone who would tests the limits, or thought I did…perhaps that was good training for having to go beyond the limit.

I have become more cautious in my ‘older’ years. My kids (now teens) keep reminding me I am not ‘old.’ Just ‘older’ they say Well, that, and arthritis, migraines…

But I still like feeling that within safe limits, I will take on an endeavor that stretches me. And in that, I find the reward.

That is the pull.


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