May 24th is my official first swim date this year and I am thrilled to have my lake back. I have kept my eye on it mostly from the upstairs windows of Chapin and Brianne’s house when I go down almost every day to see the progress. They have a beautiful view of my beloved Walton Lake. I can not see it from my own house and have to make a point of driving down during the months we are separated after my final swim of the season and I don’t do that very often. Out of sight does not mean out of mind though. I am always aware that it is waiting for me, for warm days and another summer. Today I eagerly drove down determined to take the plunge. It is always the same every year. I have to talk myself into the first swim. I have to remind myself how badly I want the swimming to begin again for another year. I have to tell myself that the numbing cold will pass , that it will be worth it. I walk out to my waist still not completely sure I will do it. I remind myself how disappointed I will be if I give in to the belief that I can’t do it. Then I go under. The seconds of shock are nothing when compared to the amazing feeling I get from being back in the lake. My beautiful lake waited for me and I am once more blessed with swimming and worshipping in my lake. Worshipping may sound ridiculous to some but that is exactly what the clear water and solitary swimming in Walton Lake offers me. As I submerge myself in the water I fill with thankfulness for having survived another winter, for the health that allows me to enjoy the physical activity that swimming provides, for the mindfulness of the many blessing the months that have passed since I last let the waters cover me have provided. For me the first swim of the season is a huge victory and a welcome invitation to the promise of summer.