Monday, 7 December 2020

Pointy daggers

So far the autumn has been warm and wet but suddenly the temperatures have plummeted. There was thick, swirly frost on the car when I set off for our Sunday morning rendez vous at Spitchwick, and when we got there there was ice in the car park.  Such a refreshing change. We walked along by the river, admiring the frost-rimmed oak leaves underfoot. We arrived at Deeper Marsh and found it covered in grey frost and there was much speculation about what temperature the water might be. In we got, and there were cries of  OOOH!!!!!  POINTY DAGGERS!!!!! This is when the water pricks your skin like a thousand little needles. Vapour was rising from the water and I think I managed to stay in for 2 minutes max. The question is, why? It seems such a mad thing to do, and yet it makes me feel so good, I have embraced the river, life itself. Everything is better after being in the water. And there is the camaraderie too. I have been swimming here every Sunday morning with the same group of dear people for, well, it must be around a decade now. We see each other and the place in all seasons and moods and in times good and bad. 

Monday, 20 April 2020

Swimming through lockdown

Lockdown coincided with the start of miraculous spring weather. Getting outside has never been more important, and yet this joyous (and often noisy) sprouting of new life that I experience daily is a jarring contrast to the feeling of fear in a suddenly altered human world.   The birds are singing more loudly than I've ever heard them, the flowers in the hedgerows are so bright and fresh, and yet a virus is on the rampage, killing people daily. As usual, I find solace in the water. Instead of driving, I am walking to my special places on the River Dart, uncomfortably realising what a lazy and polluting thing I am in normal times - driving to places that only actually take 40 minutes to walk to.   I went to visit Felix and found the daffodils on his grave had flowered, along with snakes head fritillaries and cowslips.