Note: Kate Poss took photos for this story. Bench photo is from overstock.com

After only three days of sitting on the shore of Goss Lake, our new bench has disappeared.

We — who call our swim group the ‘Rosy Hyothermias’ — bought a bench. Sharon Emerson  placed it at the edge of Goss Lake on Thursday, December 17. We had long talked of how great it would be to sit down when putting on and taking off our fins and wetsuits. 

From left: Gretchen Lawlor, Barbara Schaetti, Sharon Emerson, Kate PossThe Rosy Hypothermias

When I swam at Goss Lake yesterday, I gratefully sat on the bench and removed my wetsuit without hopping around one-legged trying to stay balanced.

Today, when Sharon, Gretchen Lawlor, Barbara Schaetti, and I arrived to swim, we were stunned to see the bench missing. Why would someone take it? Where is it now? Will the borrower return it, please?

Photo of bench that went missing from Goss Lake public beach between Dec. 18 and 19, 2020

Swimming in the 45-degree silver and black water gives us strength and makes our skin rosy, hence the name of our group. We love lying on our backs in the water looking up at the sky. Last week we marveled at seeing an eagle flying overhead carrying a branch. The camaraderie we found has woven us together and helps us face with strength the high and low tides of life. 

Sharon wrote a poem for a plaque she believed would prevent the bench being taken:

The Rosy Hypothermias

Need this place to sit,

Else one-legged wobbles

Sure will lead to fractures of the hip.

They laugh at icy water 

And swim with grace and ease.

So leave this bench in place for them

But do enjoy it, please!

The plaque is on order and expected for delivery next week. Except the bench has already gone missing.

Our swims inspired Barbara to write:

The air is cold on my skin but that diminishes in importance as I walk into the Lake. All my awareness pools onto to the touch of the icy water. I jump up and down and swirl my arms around, toss water over my shoulders, and then turn my back to the Lake and lie down. As I swim face to the sky, all sensation is to the sound of my breath in my ears, the movement of my torso and arms, and the touch of the water turning my skin to sparkles of tingles.

And Gretchen composed this Haiku while driving to meet us at the lake on a recent morning:

This portal is cold

Ice bees swarm me as I swim

Through dark midwinter.

Following her haiku, she texted: “Sense of portal keeps me hopeful. Thank you so for the companionship. Will swim again tomorrow.”

Goss Lake in the winter. Two dots are swim caps of Gretchen Lawlor and Sharon Emerson

Let’s hope this story inspires the return of our bench. 

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