I asked to stop because I want to swim.
We are not prepared to swim.
Actually, that is not accurate.
I am not prepared to swim. Steve is always prepared. He only wears “tech” clothing. His shorts are made of a material that rapidly dries and is “wick” resistant (what does that even mean?). He is always wearing his swim shorts. His swim shorts are his hiking shorts, his work shorts, his survival shorts, they are one.
So I strip naked and jump into the Long Island Sound.
HA! I Got you!
I am NOT the person to strip naked. I am a lot of things, but this is not one. BUT I did go in just my underwear. I did! That is pretty brave right?!
But that isn’t the brave part.
It’s the request in of it itself.
I am petrified of this.
Not only is the water freezing, it is also dark. I have no idea what is below me. Have you watched those discovery channel videos?! Have you seen what is down there?! Scary shit.
I’m petrified of the open water. Always have been.
But wait?! Didn’t you do Semester At Sea two times and then buy a boat to live on?!
Yes. I am all of those things because I LOVE the water. I love floating. I love baths. I love the sound of water. I love everything about it. And I acknowledge that it is the source of life. That it runs through our veins, without it we cannot survive. No species can survive. I am in awe of the power of water. I adore the rain. It cleans. It can cleanse.
Thus, I LOVE being at sea. Never feel more alive than when at sea.
But I also RESPECT the sea.
True respect comes with fear. In this case, the fear is death, but I would argue that all true respect is accompanied by fear, especially in people. You fear of losing that person’s respect. That fear can drive you to do anything. Respect is powerful. It is not a word to be thrown around. I respect the sea.
I understand its God-like qualities. It can give life, but also, destroy it. It can carve rock, it can silence a volcano, and like everything in life, too much of it will kill you. My biggest fear is drowning. It’s the idea of not being able to breathe and not knowing which way is UP. That freaks me out. Even writing about it freaks me out.
So wanting to jump into dark freezing water was an odd request. But Steve understood and stopped.
And in we went. Two kids in the middle of the Long Island Sound. Billy Joel definitely wrote about this. We felt seventeen. We were in the middle of nowhere. Steve holding on to our boat so it didn’t float away and us just bopping there. Insignificant flecks in this massive body of water. Insignificant. Small, but so alive.
And I go under.
And the dark and silence aren’t scary, instead, I’m so thankful for it.