Saturday, July 09, 2011

Andy

We ocean swimmers (yes "we" as in "including me") are a small group. We convene at a little place, on a little island, in a little state. Because of this we have a bond. I wasn't sure how significant that bond was until our numbers fell by one yesterday. Andy passed away yesterday. I did not know Andy well, however we had mutual friends and shared a passion, swimming in our wonderful ocean.

I cannot recall a time when our "spiritual leader" Mike has not declared how wonderful, how glorious it was to be enjoying our waters. Early on I was too concerned with survival to fully appreciate this gift. Two days ago I had what might have been my awakening, my satori if you will. Treading water, with friends, near Purgatory Chasm. It was incredible. I was not anxious. I was not afraid. I was at peace. I was at home. There was a sense of calm that went through me. It was so basic, so real, so primal. I'll never take this gift we have here for granted again.

Andy will never again swim with us, but I do not doubt his spirit will not miss a start. Tomorrow at 6:30am we're swimming from 40 steps on the Cliff Walk in Newport to 2nd beach in Middletown. Quite literally there is no other place on earth where you could do this. While this event is not technically being done in memory of our friend, I can safely say he will be on our minds. The ocean binds us together.