Before you start reading, here’s a wee pre-post bonus! A lakeside video of me singing one of my old songs, “Cleopatra and Aphrodite”, complete with backup vocals courtesy of a red squirrel.
And now, the post.
There’s a brisk autumn nip to the air that greets me as I ease the sliding door open, trying to keep my exit quiet on account of my still-slumbering family. The wooden deck is cold under my bare feet; the earth, when I reach it, colder still.
I hurry down the hill toward the lake in nothing but a borrowed bathrobe.
All the way down the path I’m coaching myself, just a little pep talk reminding me that yes, the water is cold, but the outcome (me ending up in it) is certain so there’s really no use hesitating. I’m very convincing.
I throw my robe aside and hit the dock running, barely pausing on the edge to gather my breath and straighten my back before executing an undoubtedly flawless dive into the still and misted surface of the lake. I don’t neglect to point my toes.
A SLAP to the face of frigid water; a punch to the gut as the cold hits. I haven’t even resurfaced yet but I’m already swimming as fast as I can. By the time I’ve crossed the lake I’m barely chilled, and once I’ve returned halfway I’m completely reveling in the feeling of warm muscles in cool water.
Spread starfish-like in the centre of the lake I can feel all the cold dark gathered below me, while the morning light breaks over the trees to warm my face. It’s a strange and singular feeling here on the edge between light and dark, one I can’t quite describe but will never get enough of.
I drift, naked and alone, with my blood humming and every inch of me alive.