Dippy Thinking

A thought on one of the thoughts I was thinking during a morning dip last week.

Isn’t the sea incredible?

Glorious, powerful, tranquil, catastrophic, curative, biblical. Wondrous.

In our beings, everyone knows that more time should be spent outdoors, in nature. I needn’t argue this point. It’s just true. Any other conclusion or equivocation is wishful thinking.

My exposure to nature last Friday may have been miserly. I was in the office half-seven till half-five; other than walking to and from my car, up and down my road, my exposure to nature was compressed within a singular moment. If it wasn’t for this moment, it would be somewhat depressing to think: my only under-the-sky-and-stars time was bridging the gap between my home and my travel and my work boxes.

However, I’ve my sacred ritual: every morning, I go to Bordeaux harbour, and I throw myself into the sea.

The picture I took at the top of this blog is the view I get to see every morning, in its various seasonal and weathered guises. Witnessing the epic movements of the elements across the mornings, the minutes, the months, overlooking my own private harbour, the rocks reaching up from the depths, Herm always looking sunnier in the distance.

Reaching the water’s edge, diving in despite inner resistance, breathing deeply, the cold charging my being. You cannot but leave the sea revivified, resplendent. So many complain about getting in, so few complain after they have.

Throughout a working week, I do spend time in other natural settings. Why is it these morning moments are best?

One of the thoughts I had upon emerging from the sea last week, in my reverie.

Breathing fresh air is communing with nature, absorbing the elements. You sip in the air passively when outside, or drink it in during exercise.

If the outside temperature’s nine degrees celsius, I’m in my shirt, shorts and sandals. It’s mild. I drink in the air gladly, but it gives me no great kick.

Nine degrees celsius is the present sea temperature, enough to make the uninitiated yelp upon entry (as I’ve had the sick pleasure of witnessing with several friends over the years), and more than enough to make any extremity turn white, or turn around and retreat back inside of you.

Why is the sea temperature so much colder than the air temperature yet the temperature is nine degrees celsius for both? Air doesn’t conduct heat away from your body like water does, and your body doesn’t internalise the cold from air as it does from water. Additionally, one has to wear clothes in open-air settings, we’re told from a young age, so we’re shielded by shirts and jumpers and coats, a civilised refusal to commune nakedly with the elements.

Communication with nature is conducted with a sharp immediacy in the cold seawater, which conducts heat away from your naked body twenty-five times faster than does air.

As I emerge from the chop, the sideways rain chasing me up the slipway, I think: I’ve spent around five minutes in the water this morning, that’s about 125 minutes-worth of air-time in terms of conductivity. Over the course of a few exhilarating, exceptional minutes, one emerges as intensely inspired as after any two-hour activity.

That’s one thought and one reason amongst many that I have to lob myself in the sea every morning.

Also, one must bathe in civilised society, you know.

One thought on “Dippy Thinking

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