Wild Swimming

The clouds shrouded the sun, and yet the view was clear. The Isle of May stood at her post in the distance. I can see the windmill, still and steady, as we walk toward the tidal pool at St. Monans. A kind and chatty Scottish couple stops us and gives us tips. I can feel my heart beating faster.

Will I be able to do it? Will it be too cold? I so want to do this. My little heart needs a win today…to do something so out of my ordinary that challenges me…that encourages me. Something I can be proud of. Something that connects me to this place and these people. I want to join the ranks of the Wild Swimmers.

The Scottish man warns us that it is hard to enjoy if you don’t have a wetsuit. She corrects him and says that she enjoys it very much without a wetsuit. I like her already.

It is 57 degrees outside and about 50 degrees in the water. At least, that is what google told me. I am in chacos and a Florida worthy bathing suit. These are not the tried and true gear of a Wild Swimmer.

I step in and feel the intensity of the cold. I just walk. No more thinking. Just walk. The stones are under my feet and the North Sea is all around me. Once I get to my waist, I want to stop. It’s cold. Can I keep going? Just go. I take a deep breath and go down quickly, all the way to my chin. It takes my breath. So cold I can’t think clearly.

15 seconds later, my whole body relaxes. The water is no longer cold. It is comforting and energizing. I have never felt anything like this before. I feel connected to this place. To this practice. To creation. To the others who know.

My thoughts drift. I am a Florida woman living on the coast of Scotland, fully in love with the North Sea. Never in a million years would I have guessed that this place, and who I am in this place, would be part of my journey. What’s a bigger word than gratitude?

I drift again and hear what my heart is telling me. I miss my Dad. I want to call him. His people came from here. He would understand why it felt so important for me to do this. I tell it to him in my soul. Tears fall.

It will be months before I feel that I have fully joined the ranks. However, in my heart, I realize that I have always been a Wild Swimmer.