Yesterday, I went for an icy dip in the Battenkill. It was an inexorable request I made to Rob, and not the first time it’s been made, either: I want to swim.
There was the arduous process of “getting used to it” that I haven’t had to endure since I was 13 and August had all but forgotten the contents of the Canadian lake my grandparents had taken me and my cousin to for a week. At nights, I cried out of homesickness, and wrote in a journal about the thunderpot under the bed and the creepy construction paper cherub that was posted on the ceiling of my cabin with a fat, disgusting moth egg sac lodged on its left rosy cheek.
It was cold water up there, but in an effort to persuade/inspire/provoke my much more cautious younger cousin into getting in with me, I took to barreling off the edge of the dock and making nary a splash, like a slippery fish. The wind gets knocked out of your chest and the base of your neck aches, reminding you you’re alive.
[Cool Change dress via Calypso, always my summer staples + Pain de Sucre bikini + J.Crew Panama hat.]
“Take me back down where cool water flow, yall / Let me remember things I love.”
With some patience, I’d removed my dress and placed my hat on Rob’s head, wrapping my arms around my stomach for warmth and deerfly protection. I waded in slowly, swearing like a sailor when the water lapped at my belly button.
[There was a rope swing on the other side; that will be next time.]
Do you remember The Runaway Bunny?
This was always my favorite part because I could easily substitute in my dad here, making this a 2-parent effort. [Happy Father’s day, dad!]. Look at her waders! And that carrot fly looks complicated; I wonder if she went to a special veg fly tying class to master it.
This was the best part. After some tubers passed through, I worked up the nerve and dove out from the little eddy I was holding my footing in. The current swept me out and I stroked purposefully for a few minutes, pausing to notice I had only managed to stay in the same spot.
“You could come here every day and swim laps!” Rob exclaimed.
With that, I turned over onto my back and let it sweep me down and under the bridge:
It was a total success, in my opinion. Then we stopped off at The Cheese House for some curds, crackers, and venison jerky and I spent the afternoon regaining normal body temperature under the best blanket on earth.
Here is the less brave, but more dry, Rob: