The summer seemed to fly by in a blur. As I am still trying to gather my thoughts, write-up and video from the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS), something happened that I just had to write down and share.
I swam a lot this summer. Not as much as some of my sisters and brothers – Bridgette Hobart swimming all the Finger Lakes after completing 8 Bridges with me in June, Jaimie Monahan making history swimming the length of Lake Geneva on top of her Rose swim and historic Argentina swim with amazing swimmers from around the globe and Andrew Malinak swimming around places and across places before I have time to process the first- but I did swim. Unlike my usual swims, I spent most of my time, this summer, getting to know the Hudson River. I did river swimming rather than ocean. I did some 5ks in the ocean, and practice swims, but really it was rivers – Hudson River, East River, Harlem River, Hudson River (yes, I know I said her twice because I spent most of my time with her).
I needed to cleanse myself in the ocean. Go back to my comfort zone. I escape into her embrace every time I jump in. I feel soothed, calm, and collected. Saturday was another beautiful day. I jumped in and swam West with a slight sweep to the East. The sweep was fine. I like the fight sometimes. Going back was swift and glorious. The break picked up a bit as we were heading onto shore. Each set was getting bigger. As I made my way in, I lingered, just for a few seconds before taking off my cap and walking onto shore. I felt the suck back in…the undertow. It pulled at me like a child wanting “just one more time.” I fought her thinking, “playtime is over, it’s time to get some coffee and eat.” As if she read my mind, with one last attempt, my cap was gone. She took my cap right out of my hand. My baby blue arena.
She got my attention, I looked back, it was gone. No floating for a few moments so I could run a few steps and grab it, no sweeping back into shore by another wave, it was just gone. I jumped back in, determined to snatch it back…was that the faint sound of a laugh I heard? I imagined the ocean tilting her head back and just laughing. I walked out and felt the pull again, the water rushing through my legs as I walked out, head down as if she was saying, “I was only playing around, don’t be such a baby.” My friends who were still in the water tried looking but I knew it was gone. I was annoyed but then I thought about it and smiled to myself. I imagined the cap was down at the bottom of the ocean with all the other treasures she had gathered from me and many others over the years.
You play with her, she gets to take things every once in a while. If it is just a cap or goggles, consider yourself lucky. Maybe she really didn’t want me to leave. Maybe she was being spiteful since I played with her sister, the mighty Hudson, more than I played with her this summer. Whatever the reason I’m good with it. She has given me so much over the years, so many memories, so many triumphs and warm feelings that I guess I owe her.