My Daily Raw Swim, Cold Running Tides posts daily on FACEBOOK - Come FOLLOW the tide each day...
Sullen, moody, low lit sunken skies. An unpromising start. Temperatures dropping, just above freezing. A few short minutes ahead of the dawn. Geese overhead, long discordant calls fracturing the morning. Brush of air, wing tip & feather. A golden flash of sound & down. Early morning waking & breaking. First shards of light, a hard precision, shattering the first of the day. Seals rolling in & under the tide. Dark heads, smooth, slick against a viscous, silver marbled sea.
In the cold water, no wetsuit, skin bare, such moments of raw beauty create exquisite conflict, yet also resolve this finer keen edge. Wind, weather, wave & tide simultaneously heighten & diminish its bone-aching coldness. Even as the spirit soars, claiming a long acre of sky. To hold this moment of Wildness close, just for an instant, is a revelation. One is so instinctively present, it is moment of shattering beauty. Even as discomfort warns to respect its outer edge. A moment when opiates & adrenaline compete for supremacy, & reason must hold sway. A prickling, tingling, flutter of cold fingers along limbs, prompts an animal response, signals blood rushes to warm raw, skin-bare, cold extremities. Instinctively, the body knows it is time to keep moving, swimming, breathing. Time to follow each slapping lift of wave, water, tide, light. This time, shore-bound.
Another ten minutes, & it is time to come out. Feet on shingle & sand. Rockpools still wet with their night of keep with the sea. In the wind, seconds dry. Towel-burning friction, skin-singing, mottled redness & goosebumps. A single quick step into a survival suit & zip fast, hat, hood, gloves, scarf. Breath coming slow & steady, regulating the cold. Salt-lashed, pupils wide, dark-saturated, elated. In their reflection, is the last of the dawn. Watching sunlight on the water. Ahead of the day. Heart, sea drenched. Eyes blinded, dawn shy. I am honest when I say. It is addictive, this Warm Rush of the Cold Tide. When life is simple again.
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© Copyright: all words & images - Tamsin McVean