Updated: Mar 1, 2020
Bryher isn’t an island of perfection….how could there be such a place? For all its stunning beauty it is easy to only write through romantic, rose tinted eyes. Yet it is a place where lives happen, a community lives and works. People celebrate birth, endure and enjoy life and experience death. Certainly we are not uncivilized and we now have electricity, clean water and super fast broadband! However there are sacrifices to be made in order to live in such a remote and beautiful place. Being far away from family and friends on the mainland can be hard during difficult times.
When my Dad died last year, the feelings of loss, sadness and finality were heart aching. From that experiance and being on Bryher, which allows a beauty and space for thinking, I have tried to find an appreciation for life around me. To notice in as much detail as I can the glorious environment. When I swim I seek out new spaces; beaches, rocks, the water around me, the sky above. Creating space within my head and my heart for nature’s wonders, self compassion and an inner peace.
In her book The Mindful Art of Wild Swimming, Tessa Wardley says,
“A common misconception about mindfulness is that practitioners are aiming to achieve a kind of blissed-out blank. This could not be further from the truth- the aim of mindfulness is actually to be in a state where we are fully engaged in the present. Swimming requires careful coordination of the mind, your body and your breath. Many people describe how they feel so alive, calm and focused; feeling the water and letting the strokes flow. “
Air temp 9° wind WNW 51 mph.
The wind has been howling all night but we wake to a startlingly bright sunny morning. After feeding the animals on the farm we walk out to Droppy Nose Point on the western side of Bryher. The strength of the wind on this exposed headland is such that it is almost impossible to stand. The force of air against my chest makes it hard to breathe. Rainbows of diamond-like crystals of spray are flown up and over the rocks as the wild sea smashes into the coast .
Boiling culdrons of froth swirl around the rocky inlets. Even the seals seek shelter, their black silky heads bobbing and glinting in the sun. They follow us with curiosity as we walk along the coastal path. They appear so calm and serene in such a tumultuous sea.
I am not in the mood for a wild swim today and so make my way down to the sheltered end of Green Bay. I don’t swim far out from the beach as I know the current will be strong, instead I luxuriate in the silky cold water. Watching the colours of green and blue and the golden sunbeams bounce and ripple around me and over me. I float, suspended on my back, the breath in my lungs the only sound. I stare up at the brightest blue sky, savasana, cocooned in a watery world.