For the past 35 years, I’ve jump-started three-quarters of my days by leaping into water.
Swimming jolts me awake. It feels like a full-body hug from Mother Nature, and gives me time, inside my head, to think, subconsciously solve problems and even frame articles I’m writing for newspapers and magazines. It’s a magic elixir for me, and therefore no coincidence that some of my favorite sports – scuba diving, water skiing, paddling – take place in the water.
The suspension of my morning workouts at Western Hills Athletic Club, where I’ve been knocking out a couple of miles four or five days a week for years, plus the closure of public swimming pools, has made me a tad cranky.
But after five weeks out of the water, I’ve logged four swims in the past week. Friends – and in two instances complete strangers – have reached out to offer access to their home pools. I’m beyond grateful.
This morning, it got even better.
A friend with access to a private dock invited me to join him for an hour-long dawn swim around a cove in Lake Austin.
Stretching my arms out and watching my hands plunge through a blue-green veil of water as the sun rose sent shivers of happiness through my body. We circled the entire cove – nearly a mile – as the sun progressively lit the shoreline with light. No boats, no people, no sound, just brisk water and dappled light.
I swam a little more, popping my head out to admire the rocky cliff on one side of the cove, and the Volkswagen-sized boulder at the tip of a point reaching out on the other. A fish splashed. I bumped into some submerged sticks, then rolled over on my back and floated, staring up at the sky.
Nothing out in this cove has changed much since the shelter-in-place order. And that felt reassuring.