My sister and I swam—a term used very loosely in this country—in the Irish Sea, for the first time this summer, a couple of weeks ago. After work we summoned some courage, ignored the breeze and braced ourselves. No matter how warm the day has been or how sweaty and hot and bothered one feels the sea in this part of the world is freezing. It is a take-your-breath-away kind of cold that must be experienced to be truly understood. The tide was at such a point that we had no choice but to launch fully, wholly and all at once into the dark depths of salty water. It was cold. I felt like my lungs were going to give up on me for a moment. And then we got out. In and out. A quick dip, so they say.
We had a repeat performance the following night in a different location. This time the tide was way out and so we had to wade further and further from shore, the water creeping slowly, painfully up our legs. Eventually we took the very literal plunge, splashed around for a couple of minutes and promptly returned to dry land.
Have you ever been asked “why do you keep hitting yourself with that hammer?” Of course, you probably weren’t actually hitting yourself with a hammer at the time, but you must be doing something with the expected response of “because it feels so good when I stop.” (No idea if this is a common thing, but it’s definitely something said around my house).
Well, that’s why we get in the sea, because it feels so good to get out.