There is something about the ritual of immersion in water. .. perhaps even ceremonial at times. I love it. It fulfils something deep within me.
The freedom I feel when I can feel water on my skin is impossible to describe. I often wonder about how much human experience is lost for so many who cannot experience the sensations of playing in water without clothes. I am privileged to have been able to experience swimming in so many environments without the encumbrance of clothing. Experiencing this nourishes me… and I feel happy.
In Iceland there was a wonderful hot stream near the lava fields. It was the PERFECT temperature to float and soak… with the steam rising into the shivering breeze. Then there was a tub on field being fed by hot thermal water. …and I mean REALLY hot water!! 45deg hot. Once in though it was AMAZING as i just lay in the silence of the night. I then popped in again the next morning because we camped close by.
In Iceland there were also the hot baths in Reykjavik. It was a cultural delight to experience women comfortable with their bodies – all walking around naked… showering…. talking to each other… helping each other … communion.. yes – that is what it was… sisterly communion. It was a shock to return here to the changing rooms at the Olympic pool where so many women hold their towels up covering every part of themselves… or endure a small shower cubicle or toilet in which to hide themselves to get changed…and undies and clothes falling from the hook on the back of the door – landing reluctantly into the water on the tiles.
I feel like an alien as I walk confidently naked through the changing rooms here in Australia.
Interesting how traditions can often shape the way one thinks. Even in Europe where once bathing in Spa’s and hot pools in the landscape was customary to be experienced without clothing- in recent times bathing costumes have become mandatory. …. so much human experience missed out on… How has it come to this???
..and then there was Greenland and my Polar plunge!!!! THAT was cold.. but wonderful. It was a spontaneous decision as we walked past a beach on our last shore excursion. The day before was the ‘group polar plunge for the few who braved the chilly water..” but I didn’t feel like swimming that day. I was in a reflective mood. I’m so glad I went with my intuition, because THIS swim by the beach was for me like a ceremony and celebration to complete my journey in Greenland.