Diving into Summer, and Everything Else Too

Happy 4th! Many people consider this the first “real” day of summer, but for me the season started a few weeks ago with the First Swim of the season. After a moment or three to consider, I dove off the boat into the harbor, gasped with the chill, and quickly scrambled out onto my paddleboard. It’s my favorite way to start a summer morning, because less than a minute in the water leaves me refreshed, energized, and grateful to live in a place where a salt water dip is both easy and cleansing.

(I admit to a bit of Photoshopping on this one.)

Each June, that first time is always the hardest. But every single morning, right up through October, I’ll still pause and think before taking the leap. Standing on the edge of dry, already anticipating wet, I savor the in-between; the about-to-be. I try to focus on the mental and physical clarity such a complete change of atmosphere brought the day before, rather than getting caught up in the mind-games of What If (What if it’s too cold? What if there’s a shark lurking beneath that opaque sheen of blue?). My daily swim forces me across the edge of life’s comfort zone, again.

Small leaps like this may not seem very important on the “surface,” but I believe they strengthen and stretch us, increasing our capacity to say “yes” to larger adventures. Like the 2019 Snipe Worlds in Brazil—a series of logistical challenges, overlaid with not-so-fond memories of South America. Or preparing for the next book’s arrival in the world, while also trying to open my writing mind once again to the terrifying unknowns of a blank page, so that the next next novel can develop into its best self.

As I dive into Narragansett Bay, gratefully slicing through the boundary between dry and wet, all these quite different worries assume their proper perspective. Just like yesterday’s swim, I’ve successfully met similar challenges before. And always, afterward, I was happy I said “yes” and dove right in.

Now go out and celebrate our nation’s birthday. And if you have a spare moment, share your favorite summer ritual in the comments below, or send me an email. Thanks for reading!