A Winter Swim With Walt and Wyatt by Katharine Montstream

AfterlightImage-2 Wild swimming becomes poetry at Cotton Hollow in Glastonbury, CT
Poetry and wild swimming. The power of water, especially cold water, to open creative pathways takes many forms. Poems are not just words on a page but often a reflection of how one moves through life.  Kath Montstream (@redhotchillydippers) combines her actions and words in this beautiful poem taking us with...
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My Wild Heart by Sara Barnes

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With her wild heart, joy in nature's bounty and watery worlds as well as her desire to dig deep into the dark roots of the soul, Sara is a kindred spirit. Her photos, commentaries and video clips of her experiences in the northern UK captivate me and move me to continue my own exploration of the wild heart, the wild beauty. Than...
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365 Days - Day 60 - Two Month Recap

IMG_20200511_073027 60 Days at Dawn - My spirit soars to the sea like this eagle cloud in flight as it swoops down to the sea
When I wrote this on Day 60 I had no idea that I would still be swimming at dawn every day and now be close to Day 300 as I publish this. I am proud of my journey as I look back and see how far I have come and what I have done since then, a day I thought might be the last. Keep surprising yourself! Keep trusting the journey! The phot...
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365 Days - Day 16: Facing the Wind

IMG_20200330_08104_20210110-194246_1 A violent dawn sky on the windy day. A cloud man swirls his arms blowing the wind towards the ocean.
It was just 'wind' when I wrote this on Day 16, just the beginning of my sea pilgrimage. From my open water swimming experiences I knew of course that different wind conditions can make swimming a great challenge. Also local weather knowledge tells us that wet storms blow from the SW and the cold wi...
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180 Days at Dawn

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Empowerment. This photo captures for me what 180 days immersing myself in the cold Atlantic at dawn has done for me. I see a strong woman in that photo taken in dawn's glorious light next to my favorite changing rock that has become my shadow play backdrop.  In this photo I sense and feel strength, confidence, openness, power an...
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Swimming in the Fog: Descent into the Fog, Return into the Light

IMG_20200826_113314_219 Sun starts to break through fog on return journey.
 It's hard to imagine nature mirroring more profoundly a common mental, inner process than this morning's walk and swim in the sea. Who doesn't experience 'mental fog' from time to time, ie, a lack of clarity, vision or feel overwhelmed by doubt? This sequence of four photos focused on the same view show my descent into the fog....
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365 Days: Day 2 - Developing the Daily Ritual

IMG_20200330_083104 What became the daily 'uniform' for swimming at dawn
I write from the present about the past. At first I didn't take notes. I had no idea when I started that swimming at dawn would become a daily ritual. This daily journey to the sea simply evolved spontaneously. Then, as I began to realize its significance and value to me, I began to record each day, through photos and words, of how this p...
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Swimming My Verses: Poetry & Open Water Swimming

P8050067 Elementals: Hand. Aqua. Bubble. Water.
Blue. Green. Tree. Breath. Arm. Hand. Bubbles. Sun. Moon.  Sometimes when I'm open water swimming, with my mind full of thoughts and I want to clear it, I turn to elementals like primary colors. Single words for single moments. I turn my head to breathe, life giving agent, and there is the Sky. Cloud. Pink. Sun. S...
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Swimming Towards the Light

IMG_20200730_080741-2 Swimming towards the light and reflecting on the new day. Grateful. Peaceful. Being. Only my dark side is visible.
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 th...
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La Belle Sauvage: Finding and Celebrating Your Wildish Nature

IMG_20200723_083230 La belle sauvage, where does she go?
The idea of La belle sauvage or the wild beauty came to me as I looked at my footprints disappearing into the tide pool. Then the words, "....and then she was gone" came into my mind. And, "Where does she go?" Like my footprints, creative ideas emerged from within tiptoeing out into my watery magical world where I have found such joy...
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Respect for the Sea

Don-Inda- Maritime rescue vessel just off shore
They say that the bodies of drowning victims float to the surface on the 9th day. Yesterday was day 9 for the two 20-year-olds missing somewhere in the waters just off the coast where I swim. They lost a paddle while kayaking on a very windy day with cold, heavy, choppy wave action. A day even the local fisherman stayed in port. Atte...
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Merging with the Water

bubbles-11-july Liquid aqua scattered with diamonds
Bubbles captured at sunrise amidst the liquid aqua as I float and feel myself adrift in the sea's power. That's my desire; to merge with the aqua atoms and feel myself enveloped in the substance invisible to the naked eye. I like how this camera (Olympus T3) allows me to slow down the rushing movement that I somehow instinctively feel whe...
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A Gift from the Sea

IMG_20200706_075746 Dawn bouquet - a gift from the sea
Despite being July, a stiff, cool breeze greeted me as I set out for the sea. A few high clouds sat in the eastern sky, the sun yet to rise, the long familiar ridge now a knife-cut silhouette. Bird song filled the air, gulls flew high in the sky and small black birds looked for snails and slugs along the pathway as usual hopping down the path ...
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Sea Glass & The Relativity of Things

P6270040 Beach glass shards come in many colors. Aqua are my favorite. Purple and dark blue most rare.
Broken glass conjures images of accidents, bad luck, sharp shards, danger, cutting, negativity. But when broken glass is polished by the sea, over many years, it can become a thing of great beauty and recycled into art or simply a delightful object to focus on when beach combing. When dry, it is lovely, yet hides its beauty. When wet, it ...
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Swimming at Dawn Begins

IMG_20200319_081123 Apocalyptic morning
Swimming at dawn started many days ago, from need. It started from restriction. It started because I felt I must do something, something to keep myself alive when the world around me seemed to be going crazy. I must go to the one place, outside my front door, that resonates life, bounty, mystery, joy, fear, passion - the sea. I must greet it each d...
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