I knew about the health benefits when I began outdoor swimming. It was a big driving factor in me wanting to begin.
I knew about the sense of achievement and building resiliance ~ I mean if heat loving Ray can get into water of 3 degrees, then surely I can handle anything life throws at me!!
And I knew about it making every cell in my body positively sing with joy and aliveness.
But what perhaps I hadn’t anticipated was this wonderful, feeling of camaraderie and connection.
There is a sense of community and friendliness that I’m not sure I’ve encountered anywhere else.
You see the same faces every morning come what may and there is genuine pleasure and warmth to be found in saying ‘hi, how are you doing, how was your day yesterday?’ as you make your way into the water.
There is a shared experience of being in the water but also a gentle knowing that we are all there for our own personal reasons.
We all have our backstory and it’s that, that has bought people together from different walks old life. Regardless of age or level of fitness, swimming together as the sun rises, shining on us and the water each morning.
Walking over the bridge, along the river, seeing the sun hit the water and fractionate into a million beautiful reflections brings me SO much JOY.
It is a privilege to be privy to the elements as the day yawns and eases itself awake.
But, it is even more of a privilege to be able to swim and feel the contrast of the cold water envelope my skin and simultaneously be warmed by the community I swim beside, marinaded in the warmth of shared connection, stories and friendship.
For this I am truly grateful.