Swimming Towards the Light
Swimming at dawn also signifies for me swimming towards the light, ie, towards discovery, inner understanding as well as simply being, experiencing joy and living in the moment. At the same time there is an implicit swimming away from something - the dark, the night, the doubt, the hidden, unclear parts of the soul's desire. I seek the light in part to shine understanding upon the inner darkness (as in Ursula K. Le Guin's novel - paraphrasing - "Light is the left hand of darkness"). When I swim towards the dawn's early light and then the rising sun, I find it is easy to be in line with the self and the world around me. The sea, the sun and the self come together through this daily flowing journey to the sea. That cold embrace of the water and the need to be constantly attentive to the sea's capricious character electrifies the senses and brings me to full awareness, presence and being. Dark and light intermingle; these are sacred moments when my skin, mind and soul tingle.
Appreciate and learn from the darkness but find the light that makes you shine and swim towards it.
In this video, I manage to capture a rare set of circumstances: the bay this calm (most often there are large waves breaking off the shoals I swim over and climb onto in the video), the timing of the sunrise and my swim, and the ideal circumstances of the moment. The time lapse took place over about 11 minutes and I cut part of the middle out. At first you can see me plunge into the sea and swim towards the shoals. I climbed out onto the kelp laden rocks, stood up in the middle of the sea, lifted up arms to the sun and it began to rise. Pure magic. The timing was impossible. Powerful. I dove back in and swam around the bay, floated and let my body move in and out of the magical plays of the golden and pink light on the water's surface. I watched a rock fisherman come onto the beach. He paid little attention to me. Maybe he didn't even see me. am used to being alone. No one seeing me. It's as if I were never there except for fading footprints in the sand. It's okay. It remains inside - mine, precious, filling.
I contemplated the mountains surrounding the bay and the mountains of life we must climb over to grow, gain strength and reach the light climbing out of our own inner darkness that can limit and confine our lives.
Swimming at dawn certainly isn't always this ideal as you must take it as it comes as you cannot control the sea's will. You must surrender to survive in a hostile medium. You must listen, watch, observe, be the water and then act. This is one of the sea's many lessons. As a reward I feel weightlessness, a sense of inner and outer freedom, often joy, gratitude and well-being.
I reflected upon how life is a daily movement between light and darkness, how you can't have one without the other nor can you appreciate one without the other. We all have shadows. We all create darkness. But why do I like the light and the sun and prefer to swim at dawn rather than at dusk? The light warms, illuminates, fosters growth, and allows me to see, feel experience the world in a myriad of shades. The light of the new day feels like a promise, a promise of new beginnings, possibilities, options. It helps foster my own inner light and desire to shine and to spread my own light to others. It also helps that I am a morning person!
Many times, as the sun is setting and I am also in awe at the magnificent plays of color as the sun sinks slowly into the sea, I feel grateful to witness this moment but inside I don't feel drawn to swim towards that setting sun. I want to let that sun go. It has lived its day well, as it does every day, and now it is time to let it go. You can't chase sunsets. You can't stop moments or capture ephemeral sensations (even though I try to be able to transmit them to others by taking photos and writing about them!). Life, light and moments are like liquids not meant to be held fixed in the hand. On the other hand, for me the sunrise just keeps expanding, the light keeps flooding, illuminating, warming, growing, and evolving.
With stunning photos and a remarkable video, the dawn swimmer captures her awareness of the power, beauty and joy of swimming towards the light. Acknowledging that darkness lurks within, she links it to the idea of swimming into the setting sun of the oncoming night. There is uncertainty, concern of the unknown, a lack of confidence. Swimming towards dawn's early light gives the swimmer feelings of strength, accomplishment and
fulfillment. She becomes aware of how free and powerful a woman she is.