Immersed in nature
I wake up when the rest of the house is still sound asleep. The soft breathing of dreaming children can be heard in the otherwise quiet house. Dressed only in my emerald green swimsuit and linen bathrobe, I close the door silently behind me. Barefoot, I walk down to the beach. It is a calm, grey morning, which adds to the stillness. The birds sing in a more mellow tune and the trees have nothing to tell me.
Mornings by the beach are usually busy. There are many of us who like to start our day with a swim. Wet footsteps on the wooden dock tell me I am not the first here this morning, although right now I am alone. I leave my towel and bathrobe on the railing and let myself merge with the grey water. The morning mist erases the horizon, making the totally calm sea float together with the grey sky. From my waterbug perspective, the mallards seem elevated in the air. I try to swim without making too much noise, so as to not disturb the awakening of nature – although I am aware that from the birds’ point of view, it is already late in the day.
For me, my morning swim is both a meditative and a physical exercise. I take it slowly and every now and then I take a break by floating on my back like a starfish, gazing up at the sky. Glimpses of blue sky are starting to show, birds fly high in the air. I simply lie there and feel totally immersed in nature. I let myself be mesmerised by mysteries that are not for me to solve, but to belong to.
When I return to the shore I am greeted by a smiling old man, standing with a gracefully aged linen terry towel on his shoulders, clogs on his feet. He has not yet been refreshed by the sea and asks me how the algae situation is this morning. “Not too bad,” I answer, and we both acknowledge how privileged we are to live by a clean sea – something we have learnt not to take for granted. Numerous are the mornings when the surface has been painted in thick green, matching my emerald swimsuit, and I must postpone my dawn dip until the wind changes and carries the algae further out to open waters. The smiling old man must have noticed that our conversation has brought a sadness upon me, so he points out that he has observed a noticeable improvement in the last few years – the water is clearer and the bladderwrack has returned. “Remember, life is beautiful,” he says, before he dives gracefully into the sea.
Text Sara Bengts Photo Teemu Silván