This weekend was one of the best. My old housemates from uni and I, met at Hastings on the South coast. All summer, I have been yearning to swim in natural water, to feel a current bobbing me up and down, knowing I’m a small part of an expanse of water that goes on, to be well and truly outside under a wide sky.
Naturally then, my suggestion for the weekend was that we should all get up before dawn and swim in the sea as the sun rises. For anybody reading this who is not from Britain; swimming in the sea here, is not really the done thing or a wise thing to do. It is too cold (especially at 5:30 am before there is any warm sunlight) and so sea-swimmers (especially sea-swimmers without wetsuits) are few and far between and not a common sight.
It is a reflection of the group of friends I have that they were all immediately up for it. I joked that we should run the three miles to the beach…Low and behold, at 5:20 am in the morning I found myself running down deserted streets… note to self never ‘joke’ around these people.
Being the wise and foreseeing group we are, we spent the night before drinking and talking into the early hours. When the alarm went off ( I picked an especially effective alarm sound to wake us up, an alarm that truly alarms when you hear it, comparable to a sledge hammer smashing against your sleep- softened skull) 4:55am we weren’t quite the fresh daises we’d envisaged.
And yet, believe me when I say- it was worth it.
Two words to describe it- glorious and exhilarating.
If you ever find yourself cursing the city you live in, wondering why your day to day life has blurred into one monotonous pattern of getting up-working-going to bed or generally feeling a bit sh*t and worn by the world then there is a cure.
Get up before anybody else is around, run like you’re a child again and jump into the sea as the first light of the day shimmers across the water.
There is something entirely right about being in the day from beginning to end. Following the sun as it rises. through to when it sets, a completeness- a whole day fulfilled. A sense of accomplishment in that.
The world is a different place when it is deserted. There is peace and space which means there is peace and space for your thoughts.
When I’m out and about in the early hours of the morning, I almost feel like an explorer setting foot on new land for the first time, peeling back all of the human activity and seeing the place as it has been, long before us and how it will be long after us. These spontaneous moments are necessary for the soul. All the time we nourish our physical bodies and minds but the soul gets left behind.
For me, nourishing my soul is embracing my natural instinct/need to be outside and part of nature, a remembering that I am more than the day to day trivialities. Beneath the daily grind, the hurtling of life passing me by, I am there.
The sea…what can I say about the sea? It is beyond beautiful, it is a huge, ever-moving, living thing. I will always be drawn back to the sea. When the dawn light is creeping over it, it is a dream: glorious and golden, somehow real but not.
Being in the sea as the sun rises, gave me one thought- ‘oh, so this is real life, this is what we areactually here for. Moments when the soul realigns with the world. (Those are the moments I live for.)
I miss friends. I miss the easiness of being with friends. I miss the humour and the jokes that only certain friends know. I miss the conversations that lead to deeper conversations and the nights that turn into days. I’m grateful for them and the time with them this weekend. I’m grateful for the adventures we have shared and look forward to the ones yet to happen.
How do you reconcile with your inner-self?