"Let's go to the beach!" a colleague suggested a couple of nights ago. After a beers and a few texts to more teachers, the plan was set - 2 cars, 9 teachers, 1 ferry and plenty of sunshine. Today, the Saturday before Easter, the last weekend in March, the weekend where snow is still on the ground in many of this ex-pat groups' home countries, we were lying at a secluded beach, enjoying the waves, blue water and gentle breeze.
It wasn't but about five minutes before the men said, "Let's swim." I pretended not to hear and buried myself in my book. The other women ignored by chatting. Non-plussed the men jumped in and proved that the water was swim-able by splashing around for about 15 minutes. Although, I had dipped my toes into the chilly water, it was not nearly as cold as the Columbia River in July and I'd been in that water on more than several occasions. However, I wasn't ready to actually "get in."
However, I kept being distracted from reading my book by thoughts that I'm in this beautiful place, blue waves and sea foam lapping at the shore, on the last weekend in March, and far from home. Even more distracting were thoughts that my husband would have been the first to run into the waters, knees high, arms flailing getting the most out of life. Here I was trying to focus on The End of Your Life Book Club. (yes, there really is a book by this name, and no it's not really as depressing as it sounds.) Luckily, the irony wasn't lost on me.
I switched off my Kindle, grabbed my beach bag, snuck into a cabin to change, and said to myself, "Eric, this swim is for you -- and for me." I ran about 40 feet from the cabin into the first 6 inches of water. Ohhh..it was a little chilly..I almost turned around and got back out, but I pictured Eric's method, which he learned from his Uncle Charlie many years ago in Canada, of running head first into the waves with his arms splashing wildly at his side until he could no longer feel the cold. I ran. I splashed. I kept running. I kept splashing. And, guess what?! It worked. I was in. The water was fine...a little cold but bearable. The waves were fun. For those swimming moments, I felt relaxed and calm. It was a great day.