A Dip in The River On a Fine Fall Morning

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Courtesy photo

Susan Dromey Heeter enjoying a getaway


Today I muse joyfully on the outdoor swim, the cold plunge, the quick dip. I have the joy of living next to the Lamprey River, a river that is not very wide or wild, which is fifty miles long and begins in Northwood, flows south and ends in my town of Newmarket. 

And, dear musers, several mornings a week I jump in, I swim, I float.

As a teacher, my days begin early and, mercifully, I can entirely identify with Henry David Thoreau when he wrote, “Morning is when I am awake and there is dawn in me.”

 My feeling about anything after six p.m.?  “Evening is when I am toast and there is sloth in me.” 

So, I don my robe and bathing suit, walk out around five a.m.  I bless myself – touching the water lightly and then I dive in.  And, well, it’s freeeeeeezing but feels so invigorating, I forget about anything else, any worry, any angst.  I swim for about fifteen minutes, the water this time of year is too cold for my head but I must have enough blubber as I do warm up quickly after some breast stroking. 

And then, well, then I turn on my back and look up at the stars. It’s so gloriously quiet, I float and remember, oh, I’m not that much in the grand scheme of things. I pause. I pray. I think, “I could very well be in the Bahamas – only several degrees cooler.”

It’s comforting, it’s a magical way to begin the day. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s mysterious and bold. 

I bring that swim with me to my classes, every cell in my system is alive and awake. I deal much better with my teenage cherubs, that swim is about 500 cups of coffee, 700 shots of expresso. Glorious.

Alas, some mornings I have company. There is a beaver who slaps his tail and warns me I’m too close to his family.  I heed his warning and stay close to the dock, I know morning is his time to work and, well, I’m invading his territory.  Upon walking out the door, I do tell my husband that if, indeed, I am attacked and killed by a beaver, please use that as the headline of my obituary.  Susan Dromey Heeter: killed by beaver.  I do giggle when thinking how my daughters would answer the question, “Oh, how did your mother pass?” And then, they’d have to admit, “She was killed by a beaver.”  And how could you not laugh at that? What a way to go.

But, dear Joyful Musers, I’m not ready to go just yet. I am an eager beaver when it comes to the morning swim and I’m curious to see how long I can take the morning plunge.  I’ll keep you posted.  And if you’re up for it, go jump in a river – it’ll change your life. 

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