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Monday, 2 July 2012

I hereby declare the bathing season to be open!

So many times I thought of how I would write this post. I’ve always loved the sea and I couldn’t wait to write about it. But somehow, I didn’t get the chance. Because, let’s face it, we’ve been going to the seaside since late February but none of the times we went, counted. I mean, how can going to the seaside count for opening the beach season if I didn’t get in?

So, the time when we wanted to go to the seaside in the winter, and forgot to put on Klara’s diaper, that didn’t count. Neither did the time where we just got our feet a little wet. That time, the water was so cold that it hurt my feet. The one time, when Klara went into the sea didn’t count, either, because I didn’t. I thought I’d have many possibilities to go for a swim, and then you know what happened. The so called “summer” of rain, cold weather, and some more rain.

But today, I am very proud to announce, today is finally the day where I actually get to go for a swim. With my husband on what I call his “Good Weather Leave” (I think it should be mandatory for all people living in the Netherlands), and my girls in daycare, AND the beautiful sunny skies, this proves perfect for opening the bathing season.

First, we go for a long walk in the dunes in Scheveningen. We pick our path with great care, and we decide to take the one where we could not have gone with the stroller. Then, we eat some pistachio ice cream. And finally, we arrive at the beach.

I change into my bathing suit, and into the water I go. It takes a while because at first, it isn’t pleasant. The waves are high, and the water is cold. I hear some part of my brain telling me off for doing such a crazy thing. I don’t listen, and continue my walk into the sea. And at some point it happens: the point when the water is up to my waist, and it is not cold anymore, and I wait for a wave, and dive in.

This is bliss. The water is now warm, and it encompasses me. I swim, and turn, and jump at the waves. I dive into the blue-green water. I am the only one in the water. Life is good! In “Blue remembered Earth” Alistair Reynolds writes about a world where it is possible to be turned into a mermaid. For a while I want to become a mermaid myself.

Water feels so natural to me. It is my element. I might be shy and awkward on land, but I become graceful and fluid in the water. I feel exhilarated by the fact that even though the water is icy cold, I still go in, and immerse myself in it. I love being the sole swimmer. So, it is no wonder that I am tempted by the idea of actually living in the water.

But then I think of the man waiting for me on the beach, dozing off in the sun keeping an eye on our stuff. I think of our beautiful girls, playing at daycare, and singing songs. So I don’t become a mermaid. Instead, I return to my Lord Husband, and change into my usual clothes. We go home.

As I am writing this, my hair is still wet, and my skin is dry and salty. I am immensely happy. Being a mermaid for 10-20 minutes is all I need.

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