Swim 1 - Sept 29th 2015   2015


I had looked it up - it would be a very low tide at 12.30. The moon hanging in the West windows over the school full and bright in the morning sky as I come down the stairs at 7.30 in the morning.

I had a day of glass. In the morning I pulled all the large sheets from ‘prop’ out from behind the plan chest and measured and stacked it.

I had said I’d take it to Simon’s to be cut down to size at 2, and I had decided to run and swim, but then I wasn’t sure - was there time, should I? I looked in the annexe for my smallest bikini and I happened on a neoprene belt bag of Andy’s - for snorkelling - which clinched it. 

I will go, but it must be as fast as possible. Hot sun, glinting in my eyes. Dry turf thuds hollow beneath my shoes as I rush down the cow field to the former mill. I decide against the road as I get to the standing stone that divides the foot of the gorse-fringed stony path, and take the western side of the cot valley which means I arrive at the top of the cliff and on impulse take the almost-path straight down - the ‘wrong’ side of the beach. 

It’s low low tide and hot, so the smooth oval rocks will be dry and easy to run over, even though many have clinging sea weed. It’s so easy to skip across the rocks, looking fixedly at the rocks for the next foothold  that I overshoot the blue lagoon and find myself on the far western side of it, brough up against the breakers lapping it’s Atlantic side. I retrace, and see the lagoon is empty - ankle-deep water. So I strip off leaving a trail of shoes, and clothes across the rock and put my bikini on, then paddle across the lagoon to the sea rolling onto the beach. The tide is so far out that there are hardly any patches of sand without kelp, but I wade into the palest patch and fall forwards into the water, then I glance up to the west and see longships hovering above the sea and I break into laughter - I don’t expect this laugh to come busting out - I’m so surprised that I stop myself laughing and then find it even funnier that in this moment of delighted abandonment I might censor myself so I laugh even harder. I plunge about face up to the sun giggling.

 There are walkers out by the bench at the end of the road. They are far away and feel entirely irrelevant. There’s a man clambering incompetently on the rocks, but I am in another zone, far away from any mortals because I am a swimmer.