Getting Into the Swim Of Things

Last year around this time, I wrote about Finding Joy in January. I must have been high on something when I thought up that topic! At least the days are getting longer. With Covid still here, more daylight is really all you can say that’s good about this month.

This year Peter and I managed to have a small gathering on New Year’s Eve. The guests stayed till about 1:00 am – we were so happy to be together! The next morning, New Year’s Day, I was so pumped up from the party that I woke up early. Then I woke Peter up to tell him about the adventure I had planned for us. He didn’t seem too excited, especially when I mentioned wearing bathing suits. But he agreed to go.

I have told you, in some past posts, about how I spent my childhood swimming in Lake Ontario. Since moving to the city, I have tried to go back into the lake during the summer. Too cold…brrr! So the polar bear dip on New Year’s Day has always intrigued me. How could people actually Do that? I decided this was the year to find out.

Peter and I put on our outfits, grabbed our hot coffee, and set out. We drove to the waterfront and parked. Then we walked the last kilometer to Sunnyside beach. We didn’t see any other swimmers in bathing suits. But we did see some groups of young people rushing along, laughing hysterically and carrying bags and backpacks. Could these be other potential swimmers?

As we approached Sunnyside Beach, we did not see the huge crowds from newscasts of previous years. But there were some other old people like us, standing with cameras and phones, not wearing bathing suits, waiting for somebody else to create the kodak moments. In fact, there were far more spectators than swimmers! We found a good spot and waited. Soon younger people began to gather in groups, still laughing – a kind of nervous laugh – as they began to strip down. I asked Peter if it was time…

Then the first group of swimmers assembled for photographs. Was this a swimsuit competition or a group hug? Or was it just a case of safety in numbers? The swimmers let out a yelp and headed for the water. We noticed they were holding hands. They were all in this together – no escaping. As they hit the water, there was a lot of squealing. They splashed around for about 15 seconds and then exited the lake as quickly as they had entered, racing towards their towels.

The next group had their turn. This time the shrieks were punctuated with screams of “Why Am I Doing This??” Nobody answered – they were all too numb with cold. We watched them emerge and dress at warp speed. Slowly their shivering stopped and one person exclaimed: “Wow that was fun!”

Really? Immersing yourself in ice cubes is a fun way to start the new year? But now it was our turn. We looked at each other…and smiled. Somehow we had left our bathing suits at home! For us, just getting up and walking by the lake on a chilly day was enough fun. Time to go home again and warm up with another coffee. At least we had gotten some exercise. Now we could sit down and figure out another, less daunting, way to get into the swim of things in January.


Polar Photo Shoot
Holding hands – no escaping!

5 thoughts on “Getting Into the Swim Of Things

  1. You nailed the suspense without overdoing it. Good editing. Sue
    January will bring more mystery for you to write about


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