“Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Anon
I was momentarily breathless this morning when I plunged into 11 degree C waves at the beach shortly after sunrise.
It’s early spring in Cape Town and even though sunshine was sparkling out of a clear blue sky, the choppy white waves were being whipped up by a very fresh south easter and my arms and legs prickled with goosebumps as I ran across the wide beach to get to the water’s edge.
Stepping into the lacy foam my toes and feet felt the shock of the cold water but I kept moving, both resisting yet relishing the icy burn in my legs and the jolt at my belly as I met the waves deeper out.
(Image via Pinterest – no credit available)
At last I surrendered to the moment and turned my back on the next wave allowing it to slap me across the back then ducking my head right under and letting the current sweep my legs out from under me, carrying me light as a leaf, limbs flailing, and depositing me back in the shallows, closer to shore.
Staggering to my feet I regained my balance, breathless but laughing, and plunged back to meet the ever rolling waves again.
In my experience, there is no better way to feel completely alive, and 100% in the moment, than swimming in the ocean. I use the term swimming rather loosely as I tend to play, cavort and splash about, diving under waves, leaping high with unbroken swells, ducking under massive breakers and allowing the water to have its way with me, no matter how silly I may look.
You simply cannot be depressed, sad or anxious in those minutes spent playing in the sea.
And while summer with its warm, generous frothy waves is wonderful, these bracing early swims just past winter, when the air hasn’t yet completely forgotten to leave its sting behind and seasonal swimmers like me emerge from the cocoon of winter mornings under the covers – these are the ones that make me feel alive again, awake after a long hibernation.