Friday 26 February 2021. Evening

The mornings are lighter, the evenings are longer. The load might be the same, but I’m getting stronger.

I’ve returned to the river. It’s the earliest I’ve ever started my regular swims in the year. It’s cold of course, but refreshing in a way that will start to dispel as spring brings warmth and summer. The cold burns, like it always does, in parts of my body that I’ve forgotten are part of me. Dressed up in multiple layers for multiple months, the creases between my toes, the shadows under my arms and the folds of my knees have been forgotten and unfelt. Suddenly this skin tingles with a burning freeze, I rely on the muscles to fight the strong winter current and keep me safe, I breathe as deeply and as fast as I dare. After a winter locked down, my body has shut down and my mind has been tucked away. Now spring is calling for strength, openness and awareness. And like a baby swimming towards birth, I swim the river towards life, to awakening, to spring.

When I get home, I read the news more carefully, with eyes and mind wide open. No one can take that away from me.

River Cam along the Mill Ponds, Cambridge, February 2021. Photo by Jessica Zarins

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