Channel surfing

Yesterday I was asked by my friend Charles whether I would like to join him in a swim this morning, promptly at 8am, in the English Channel. I was hesitant to say yes, because according to my NYC subjective clock that would be 3am.

Yet sure enough, this morning promptly at 8am I went down to the beach. And then, here in Brighton, I happily went for a swim in the Channel.

To my surprise, it had turned out not to be difficult at all to make my appointment. Every fifteen minutes, starting at around 6:30am Brighton time, I had found myself waking up. I kept trying to go back to sleep, but would then find myself promptly reawakening every 15 minutes.

It would appear that some force deep within my soul really really wanted to wake up and swim in the English Channel. And so I did.

The water was far warmer than I had expected, but the waves were intimidatingly high. As I walked out from the shore, feeling wave after wave crashing against my body, I started to laugh in sheer glee.

I recognized that particular laugh: It was my five year old self, laughing aloud with sheer animalistic pleasure. There was something so crazy, so wonderfully beautiful, about walking straight into those crashing waves, that I was overcome with a completely irrational and childlike sense of joy.

Just before I plunged head first into the breaking waves, I realized that in its way, this experience reminded me of the one time I had gone sky diving. On that occasion, I had had exactly the same thought, which goes something like this:

Nature, in all of its lovely and infinite magnificence, probably doesn’t care about me at all. But it’s probably not going to kill me either.

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