Wave after wave

They came in the first wave
Autumn 2020
All public pools closed
They exchanged
Concrete and chlorine
for sand and salt
Rectangles and lanes
for the open all hours water
Ceilings and swipecards
for the ever vast sky
Neat changerooms and hot showers
for big towels, dressing gowns
Ugg boots and hoodies

Kindred spirits
But strangers initially

They fill the carpark
they queue the kiosk
they pedal
they walk
they partake
of the water

I watch from near and far

Near, because I’ve been here
Twenty-five years
Sunrise or thereabouts
Daily in warmer times
Weekends when the sun is shy

Far, because the crowded footpaths
push me further and further
from my nook, my cranny
my once private space

I cycle earlier, or later
to sidestep the throngs
the changes

But still they come
and so they should
This pocket of the bay
Is not mine
Nor theirs
Belongs to no-one
And everyone

They don their wetsuits
Groups and pairs
Squads and singles
Wading in
Rolling their shoulders

They have the taste for it now
on their skin, up their nostrils,
on their tongues, in their hair
the winter cold, the salty air

Do they know yet of
the rocks
the tides
the drifts
the urchins
the ‘rays

Waist deep
I nod to one or two
A greeting, a welcome
Acknowledgement
Strangers initially
We are all in this together
Wave after wave

4 comments

  1. That is brilliant Vin. I’m almost tempted to go for a swim this winter to shock my senses into gear during lockdown. Almost….

    • ‘Brilliant’ may be a slight exaggeration but I’ll take it, mate. Given your proximity to a beach, you may be running out of excuses for not going for a dip. Still have fond memories of you joining me for the conclusion/finale of the 365 Swims escapade all those years ago – June 2013, I think. Cheers.

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