Still Life Sunday: Morning Swim


4 Morning Swim

I open my eyes and recognize the familiar wooden paneling, the white curtains with small flowers on them that let in the light in the mornings. I lay in the guest bed of my parent’s summer cottage.

It’s a wonderful place to stay at in the summer. It’s placed on the highest point in the area with a steep hill down to the private beach with a dock and a small terrace. When I was little, the small terrace was the place where my grandparents wanted to drink their afternoon coffee if the weather was fine. Me, who didn’t drink any coffee at the time, got some homemade juice and cookies. It’s one of the best memories I have.

The dock again got burning hot during the warmest hours of the day. If you wanted to go for a swim from the dock, you had to be quick – otherwise the hot wood would burn your feet. So what me and my sister usually did was that we ran from the terrace to the dock and jumped right into the water. It was one of the most entertaining things to do during the day, especially when our father joined us in the water. He was a good swimmer and especially good at diving. He used to dive deep and tried to catch our feet. It made me and my sister giggle.

This morning, I get up from the bed that is placed in the room next to our wood-burning sauna. It is our guest room but since we rarely have guests at the cottage I have made the place into my bedroom.

The weather is fine as the sun shines and a gentle wind sways the leaves in the birch tree nearby. I put on my sandals, open the door and let the cool morning air brush my face and my naked body.  I grab my towel and walk down the steps to the ground where large stone steps take me to the dock.

I am heading for my morning swim.

I love mornings at the cottage. I am usually the first person to wake up and I enjoy the calmness and the quietness of the nature. I walk down to the dock, observing the birds and the calm shushing of the leaves that fill the air.

The towel finds it’s usual place on the bench that is fastened with screws to the dock. I place my feet on the metal steps that lead down to the water. I brace myself and take the first step down. The water feels cold. But I take another step, and another. Goose bumps run through my whole body. I know this feeling from before and what it leads to, therefore taking another step and getting deeper into the water.

When halfway in the water, I turn my back to the dock and face the water. Taking a morning swim requires self-discipline, almost some sort of sadistic willpower. And I embrace the shivering coldness, take a huge breath of air and lower the rest of my body into the water. I let go of the steps and take a few powerful breast strokes, leaving the dock behind me.

The water feels light on my body, welcoming me to a new day. My heart pumps blood and oxygen to my body, invigorating my arms, my legs and back, filling them with energy. I feel the sea weeds against my legs and my stomach, a somewhat uncomfortable but at the same time tickling sensation.

I swim a few meters one way, then turn and swim the other way. After that I return, pull myself up the stairs and on to the dock. The world feels new, and I feel fresh and ready to embrace a new day. What a great way to start my day.




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