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.
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?
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.”
Let’s hope this story inspires the return of our bench.
This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine.
Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!