Isak Dinesen said; “the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea”, and I think that he is onto something. The quote was sent to me recently by one of my lovely clients Deidre, after I had told her about my morning dips in the sea. Whilst sweat and tears are certain cures for some moments in your life, in my opinion there is nothing more therapeutic or revitalising than immersing your body into the cold salty water of the sea and feeling the ribbons of kelp gently brushing against your legs and the sun, or sometimes rain on your face.
It is no secret that my work is heavily inspired by the sea. I love the forms carved into rock by the tides, the huge variety of beautiful seaweeds and the pleasing forms of sea-worn pebbles. But it has a much more important place in my life too… I am quite an anxious person, my mind is always buzzing with ideas and thoughts. From the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep I am thinking at a million miles an hour. The moments when I feel calmest - like my mind is at peace, and worries fizzle away is when I am in the sea. The feeling of the water around me, as I float, brings me a real sense of almost meditative peace.
I have always loved swimming in the sea, but I was never a fan of going in the winter months. I used to be impressed by the early morning ‘Battery Rocks swimmers’ but definitely with a sort of ‘rather them not me’ attitude. But this year my husband Martin, and I have become enthusiastic followers of the ‘ice-man’ Wim Hof - and his deep breathing and cold showers eventually escalated to taking a dip in the sea in winter (without a wetsuit, of course). Brrr. The initial shock quickly wears off, and is replaced with a wonderful moment of elation; of being alive and in the moment. I can certainly understand why some say that cold water swimming is addictive.
Of course living in Penzance I am spoilt with places to swim from my doorstep - so I don’t have any excuses for not going. I swim every morning, but throughout the hotter months I go more often, and try to cram in an evening swim after work too. These blissful moments are when I feel my most creative - coming out of the water I am refreshed and ready to go to work with a clear head and focus.
Morning swims have become a family affair. What used to be an eccentric hobby of ‘embarrassing’ Mum and Dad has become something that we enjoy as a family. I think that the kids agree that there is no better way to start your day than a quick dip, followed swiftly by a hot cup of coffee.