I want the surf, the wind that shreds the fog and lifts the sand. The ocean stretches close enough to forever, even now. There are no troubles too big for it. It cleans, it absorbs, it forgives.
Swimming, even when the air is cold, I forget where my skin begins and ends. I want that. I am tired of the edges of me, too far out, too far in. I want the heave of the water to lift me off my feet, to cast me up, up like flying,lifting me like a weightless tiny thing, to the top of the unbroken swell. I want to come down the other side, streaking fast as the green streaks of bubbles, to the shock of the sand under my feet.
I can bask and roll in the water as seals do, graceful for once. I can ride the waves in, flying with the water's push behind me, flat as I can go, and fast, until I feel the sand scrape my skin, and the little pebbles speak right in my submerged ear.
I want to swim until I am staggering tired. Only then will I ride the wave in, and stumble up, to sleep where the sand is warm.
The wind changes around sunset. It blows from the land, the birds find places to sleep. The sand is cool on the surface, warmer underneath. I can dig my cold hands and feet into it. And I can stay to watch the stars come into the purple-blue sky. They are closer here, and there are so many. They crowd the sky, lean down to look at the ocean. There is nothing cold about them. They are just out of reach, and warm as velvet.
In the starlight, I can swim again.
There are a hundred reasons why I cannot do this. Each reason, a step away, into a bigger life. Besides, even I did not swim in winter. (June to October, in New England, are months for swimming. Fall is best.)
But today I just wish I could.