On swimming and a fear of heights

She begins her swim by walking straight into the water. She moves with determination and does not hesitate. Her walk ends when she is afloat. Her skin senses the dramatic differential in temperature. Her practice reduces peripheral blood flow quickly. Her skin cools, and the unpleasant sensation attenuates as the differential is reduced. She is comfortable within a short time.

I begin my swim by walking into the water to my ankles. I pause to get used to the unpleasant sensation of cold. I proceed to my knees and pause. The water stings as I walk to my waist. I stand high on my toes and retreat when waves splash onto my chest. Cycles of advance and retreat continue as I inch toward her. The cold bites with each step. Rather than allowing time for equilibration, my habit postpones it. The seemingly unending advance continues until I am standing with water just-below-the-chin. It is excruciating. By the time I begin my swim, hers is complete.

She argues that her habit makes more sense. Surely she is correct.

Neither of us managed more than two flights the first time so we made our way there again. The skies were clear and river mists remained. Up we climbed, hands to the rails. We stepped directly, and with determination. We did not hesitate. Within a few minutes we were there. We are glad to have conquered that which kept us from enjoying the view.


7 thoughts on “On swimming and a fear of heights

    • Thanks for the supportive observations Elke. Oak and Beech to be sure … my guess is that might be due to the recent history of logging in the area. There are plenty of pines and hemlocks close by, including our own back yard.

  1. There is no exaggerating the beauty of Autumn in your part of the world – the colours are gorgeous. I’m not a fan of heights but would have made the effort to see that view. And, I always struggle with getting in to cold water – but love the swim once I’m in.

      • Yes of course, we have glorious shows of our own, but fall in Vermont is something heralded here as being particularly special. Perhaps your tourist board is very persuasive? If so, they are doing a good job! 😀

  2. We are surely related. Our advance into the water is most definitely the same. I admire the other option, not sure I will ever be able to make the shift! Your ascent up the tower is admirable. I am happy to enjoy the fruits of your labor from the comfort of my home! I got a queasy feeling just looking at that tower!

    • It was, in every way, a positive experience. Really. Once you decide to make it to the top … you can … in a matter of just a few minutes. Don’t count the experience out until you’ve tried.

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