Well…as our 20 year run on the East Coast ends… I guess it’s time to circle back to where it all began. No-I am not going to make this a sentimental journey of raising our children in the classic New England village of Weston, family summers on Nantucket or the life long friends we have met on this journey. No, if I did that I may cry. Rather I choose to focus this short blog on the people and the place where this swimming journey began.
As part of the farewell tour we took a quick weekend trip to Westport, CT to visit friends. Westport was our first stop on the East Coast when we moved there in 2000. It was at the Westport YMCA that I met a group of guys that changed my life forever. I was was going to early morning lap swimming by myself (boring) in my stars & stripes speedo when I spied a group of guys doing organized workouts. Over a few weeks I wheedled my way into lap swimming with them. I think it was my stars & stripes speedo that they were jealous of. As winter turned to spring workouts moved from the Y to Compo Beach on Long Island Sound for open water swimming. The swims were at the crack of dawn, in the dark, in the light, calm conditions and best of all stormy conditions! Oh…and how can you forget changing and getting ready for work in the public outdoor showers.
Sooo…with those memories in mind we made a trip Westport for an open water swim for old times sake. I thought it was just going to be Andy. However he surprised me with the whole gang. It was great to see them all! It was cloudy, cool and water temps in low 60’s with choppy conditions…what more could we ask for? The water, friends and chop…doesn’t get much better? We swam out to “the whites” and then back and forth tracing familiar waters.
We had so many fun times at Compo from Halloween swims, the Compo Beach Point to Point swim, our own made up Glass Slipper swims up the Saugatuck River and some spontaneous swims on milestone birthdays (ugh).
It was with that sense of adventure, future friendships and silly antics that I took with me to Boston 15 years ago to meet other crazy swimming groups; MIT Masters, Nahant Knuckleheads, L Street Bath House crew, Wayland Masters and the Pam’s Pond crew. Each group has its own personality with wonderful and interesting people in each group.
It’s only appropriate that as I reminisce in our nearly empty apartment in Boston writing this blogpost overlooking Copley Square that today was the final open water swim of the season and my final open water swim as a full-time Massachusetts resident. Today we earned our November badges at Pam’s Pond. The water was 54.2 degrees. I swam with a wetsuit for part of it and skins for the other part-yes that would be called a cold water swim with an asterisk. We enjoyed the hot tub and Ben even opened up the hot toddy bar. A great way to end the season and send off from Massachusetts.
I don’t know exactly where I will find my tribe out west yet and honestly that kinda concerns me, however I think I will find them~somewhere near a body of water.
Life is lived in the “transitions” and I am looking forward with anticipation and some nerves as to what lies ahead.
Thank you~Westport friends for re-opening my eyes and interest in swimming and thank you for the memories to all my swimming friends in Massachusetts~it has been fun riding the wave or current or staring at a black line with each and everyone of you. It’s not goodbye but merely see you later. Westward ho!