The Baltic stretches out to the horizon placid and pink from the reflection of the early morning sky. There is only a bank of cloud to the west, still heavy and purplish with night, but the eastern sun is quickly burning the sky above the ocean blue and white. I stand at the water’s edge; my bare skin prickles against the chill. I breathe in deeply and walk into the water.
The ice of it sucks my breath away, and today it’s all me propelling my body forwards and under. Gone are the greenish, churning waves of the last few days that slapped up against my belly and chest and made short work of getting in. But also gone is the wall of seagrass torn from the ocean floor and hurled against my legs and into every seam of my swimsuit. The water today is clear. I can see all the way to the neat, rippled rows of sand beneath my feet.
Finally, I’m up to my neck. The horizon is nothing but a scar. At my feet, mitosis; an underwater tumbleweed splits apart, and one half of it is a crab, its back the color of salad leaves left to wilt in the fridge. It scuttles in half circles around my feet and warily, carefully, we dance.
Ten minutes. That’s how long we stay in the water. It’s one minute for every degree Celsius that your body can take before it begins to cool too far, and the water here is fifteen degrees. So ten minutes is safe. Still, my wet skin prickles with goosebumps as it meets the salt-soaked air. The water is only at knee height when a reddish bloom catches my eye. Pulsing furiously and too fast for comfort, a jellyfish red as washed-out bricks shows us his tangled underbelly. » Continue reading this post...