Today I decided to get a little sun. So I packed up a good book, my notebook and pen, towel, made myself a big mug of ice water and snagged up my iPod Nano. Then I hopped into my moms truck and drove down to the North Thompson River near a back eddy where my dad used to take me and my sister fishing when we were kids. I didn’t bring a fishing rod because I was scared about ruining something. I figured I would read a little bit, write a little something and get some sun. I got down to the river and noticed that most of the beach area that I normally sit on was flooded. I also dipped my toes in the water and noticed that the water wasn’t that cold.
And it was rather hot out.
Plus I love swimming.
So without really testing the water I launched myself off the bank and over the drop off in front of me and my whole body went into immediate WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST DO?! shock. I mean it colder than cold. In that moment my nipples could have cut diamonds and I had enough goose flesh that I could have been turned into a nice goose coat. Right away I pushed for the surface and tried to put my feet down on river bottom to stand up. Just as my head popped out of the water, I went right back down under as my feet found no river bottom and sunk for the briefest of seconds. The shock of not finding a place to stand up and sinking back under water sent my body into a more frantic YOU’RE A FREAKING MORON! shock. After sinking for barely a second though it felt like ages, my feet hit the river bottom and I pushed myself back to the surface of the river.
And my shorts shot down from my hips, over my thighs and tangled around my ankles. My mind at this point was numb as it groaned, ARE YOU SERIOUS? WE’RE GOING TO DIE WITH OUR SHORTS AROUND OUR ANKLES? I kind of giggled at myself and kicked my shorts off and scrambled back towards the shore while trying to grab my shorts before they floated away. Because I think they were my dads shorts and he’d notice if they gone and I’d be forever razzed about the time I went swimming and lost his shorts in the river. So now you can picture me in a black and blue tank top and little black thong frantically trying get out of the icy water…
Except the drop off I was running up was all loose sand so it was kind of like running in place while I drove my knees up as hard as I could scrambled to find purchase with my feet. I tripped, stumbled and got a serious wedgie for all of my efforts. I finally made it out of the water and flopped down on my towel. As I lay there I remembered all the times that I had gone swimming at my Great Grandma’s house when I was a kid during my summer breaks. I remembered all the times I had floated with my sister and older cousin in the currents and then scrambled up steep drop offs that always gave away under our feet, trying to get to a little piece of land before the river took us away on its currents.
Seriously, how did I not die? I mean, we always made it out of the current before it too us away from the banks that we swam along. But it always ended in this scramble of us pushing our little legs as hard as they would go to get out of the water or to be able to firmly plant our feet on the river bottom so we didn’t get swept off. Of course, Grandma always told us to never play in the water, but we never listened. We’d perpetually be down in the water, swimming in the shallows, playing with Uncle’s boat and floating on the currents. I never felt like I was in danger, but after today I have to wonder how the heck did I never die or come close to dying?
I also have to wonder how I tolerated the cold water. Even after I got out of the water my body was still slightly shocked at the temperature change and I actually shivered for a bit until the sun dried everything but my clothes. Then I pulled my shorts back on and noticed that I had sand all over them so rather than just taking them off and rinsing them off, I jumped back in. This time I didn’t jump too far out and was able to stand right away and run back onto shore. I couldn’t help but wonder how I did this as a kid and never gave a second thought to how cold I was or how cold the water was: I was just happy to be in the water and having fun.
Was I just as stupid, crazy and irresponsible as a kid as I was as a teen or was I just a kid who enjoyed the good things in life cold water be damned?