At least once per day, I go for a dip or swim in my giant ‘pool’ in the back of our home in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada. I say dip or swim since my ‘giant pool’ happens to be Lake Ontario, one of the 5 great lakes that stretch along the border separating Canada from the United States – our ‘revered’ neighbours. I have been doing this ALMOST year round for 28 years – summer, spring, autumn, winter – yes, winter!
One of my favourite ‘launch pads’ is the base of the local park at the bottom of our street. You can see below what we in the ‘hood refer to as the ‘Four Sisters’ – concrete blocks that provide a rather treacherous entry point to my ‘pool’! You may notice the plethora of algae in the enclosed area at the base of the Four Sisters. This extends into my ‘pool’ proper as well – making for a slippery, potentially dangerous entry. Thus, I usually don my Sockwa X8s (courtesy of the creator and good friend of mine, David Zasloff, in California).They provide fantastic grip on the slimy rocks and dissipate the water rather well, making it easy to swim without added resistance. Of course, I always prefer to do ANYTHING barefoot BUT, as I age, common sense might actually be taking over – SOMEWHAT!! Once I actually make it down the 1st series of rocks and boulders, I must carefully wade through the algae-infested ‘dip’ pond before entering the lake. The Sockwas once again make this a rather easy transition.Next comes climbing through the pond and over the last of the large boulders to dive into the ‘pool’ for a well-deserved swim. The duration of the swim segment is predicated upon the length of free time available and, more specifically, the temperature of the ‘pool’. I mention temperature due to the fact that it can go from 10-12 degrees Celsius to 19-22 degrees Celsius almost overnight. It all depends on the current of the ‘pool’. If it is out of the south-west, ultra-cold water is funneled in – no matter what the air temperature, it is absolutely numbing. If it is out of the south-east, much warmer water is funneled in. No matter what the air temperature, it is easy for me to swim for up to 1 kilometre. On many days, the ‘pool’ is quite rough BUT on this day, it was perfectly calm…and warm. Thus, I had a rather long, pleasant swim before heading off to work – in spite of the algae blooms. Heck, if my swimming buddies (the swans, ducks, geese and cormorants) can do it, I sure as hell can as well! You’ll notice from the photo above that my ‘pool’ is rather sedate with the algae mainly ‘resting’ on the bottom – thank God!
Of course, the best part of all is the post-swim euphoria before heading home. There’s simply no better feeling – especially when my ‘pool’ is exceedingly cold. It never ceases to amaze me how good I feel afterwards. Any body tightness, tension, soreness or fatigue is TOTALLY gone within seconds of entering and lingers for hours afterwards. This is difficult for anyone to comprehend who has never experienced it. The smile on my face (photo above) says it all. I am MOST fortunate in that I can frequently do this on 2 of our Great Lakes (as those who read my blog regularly will know, we have a cottage on Lake Huron where I have gone swimming for so many decades!). The lake water resets my bodily clock, keeping me alert, balanced and fully activated to take on the challenges of my day. Most of you will probably never follow my lead on this. However, those who are able AND do so, will NEVER regret it!