Winter Swim Tips
Choose flawless full-sun, dry, low-wind days – or know sheltered spots where the water will be
smooth preferably the days when the air is warmer than the water – this way it will feel like you
are in the Caribbean and not New England after your swim. Everything is relative.
Know that on a windy day or on a day after a storm the colder water will churn up from the deep
and it will be that water to crash on the beach. This will make your swim water several degrees
colder than the marine forecast said it would be.
Go at high tide or wade to eternity to start your swim.
Eat seriously before you go.
Pack two one-liter plastic bottles filled with hot tap water from the cottage – one to hold to warm
your hands after your swim and the other to rinse sand from the neoprene booties that will still be
on your feet.
You don’t need a wetsuit in fact a wetsuit is discouraged. Neoprene booties and gloves will
protect your toes and fingers. Start no later than November.
Make sure your keys are in a zippered pocket.
Plan your swim. If dogs meet up at certain hours avoid those hours or risk being a focus
of their attention, in particular if you are wearing a mask and snorkel.
Be well-versed in hypothermia. Go with a swim buddy or recruit your spouse to serve as your
swim sherpa. While you are in the water intermittently yell out to your sherpa for time-checks –
this will keep him from getting distracted by birds.
Have your visual field linger somewhere between the sunlight just above and the water
just below the surface – it’s the portal between two worlds.
Be prepared to feel euphoric post-swim. This feeling will last for hours if not days.
Be generous and answer any questions from gawking onlookers on the beach-
one might become a life-long friend.
Once home sit in front of a portable sauna lamp and take a selfie at an odd angle, so you are
foreshortened in the fiery light.
I am in love
like the bun
my daughter wears
and the cup
I hold it
of my hand.
About the Poet
Diane Pohl’s recent poetry has appeared in The Lake, Slipstream, Nixes Mate Review, The Bookends Review, and Ovunque Siamo. Her work is forthcoming in The Main Street Rag, I-70 Review, Museum of Americana, other places. She lives in Cambridge MA, where there are books along the sidewalks and always people to talk to. Her poem ‘When you were 9’ won an Allen Ginsberg Award.