I exit the pool as I often do, using my hands as well as feet, to balance on the wet rocks and avoid slipping on the seaweed.
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I notice that my knee is bleeding - probably a barnacle scrape - and instinctively lean down and lick it. Half naked coming out of the ocean, on all fours, tasting my own blood, an Arctic tern screeching and diving above, I am alive and wild.
Twelve new pairs of survivalists take on the most inhospitable places on the planet in a sneak peek of the brand new season. Covering over six continents thi Author: Naked And Afraid On entering wild places. You learn, once you finally realise how precious it is, to tread upon this ancient altar, to step a little more gently, a little more naked, into the wild. You strip down to tender, not to show yourself off, or parade your furless body, but in order do less This is "Naked in the Wild!" by TON DOU on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love buckysboneyard.com: TON DOU
Later, warming up with a cup of tea and salty skin, sucking the Atlantic out of my hair, I have a rush of wellbeing. The cold is addictive.
Each swim is like a near-death experience, and each time the swimmer survives, they are overjoyed and stronger. Treading the bones of ash, roots as steps, I enter the water.
Moss-lined bark strokes the balls of my feet as I change lanes from human to river. It is a kind of dance. I have been dancing the River Dart in Devon since childhood. Later, they became swims, often solitary, as I came to know stretches of the river more intimately, at different times of the year. As a writer, the names of places pulled me in as much as the water: Black Rock, Sharrah Pool and Bow Creek. Sharpham Point soon became a favourite on account of its easy access, the richness of its bird and aquatic life, and the tint and taste of its water.
Here I have swum with kingfishers; their turquoise flashes interrupting the muted landscape with violent sneezes, orange breasts rising like airborne salmon.
Have faced naked into the wild will
I greet the swallows, swimming under their flight path, tracing milk bellies, blushed throats. As their tail feathers fan out, so do my arms. There is a sense of unity with my water companions - all of us brimming and skimming and pulling together through the murky underworld of unseen things.
Rivers, and discrete parts of the same river, have different tastes. I love the flavour of the Dart in places like Sharpham Point, where water can be as dark and deep as peat; like downing a shot of neat water whisky.
Naked into the wild
Writing and swimming are complementary practices; they encourage us to conceive of ourselves differently. Both processes question our habitual ways of moving through the world.
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Sometimes, I take words into the water. I run Swillowing workshops, where swimmers are given a Wind In The Willows persona to embody as they enter the water, afterwards recording their experiences as rats, moles and moorhens.
Just as the fish, and other lives in the water, may carry these pollutants, so may the swimmer. We are in a community with the other species who are similarly entangled in both the problems and the pleasures of our land and waterscapes.
Swimming offers an invitation to kinship with many organisms in and of the water, which I take up whenever I can.
In the Dart, furred limbs of ash brush below, as swallows blush above. Always, it is a kind of dance. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is the author of The Grassling Allen Lane. I watch all this from a distance, too knackered to join in even when I can afford to, seeing the culture that sustained me growing up working-class in Britain - brutalist architecture, street markets and secondhand shops - culturally reappropriated in a way that precludes my involvement.
I cheer myself up by reimagining this tough, corporate-in-disguise metropolis as my own personal bohemia, and my search for simple pleasures often leads me to Herne Hill.
On the way I cycle past streets named after Langston Hughes, Derek Walcott and Alice Walker. During the summer months the lido is quieter in the evening and just the right temperature, cool enough to be bracing, warm enough after a few strokes to encourage you to carry on. I problem solve and write as I swim - I composed some of this essay beneath the water; somehow the work that takes place there is devoid of anxiety.
My mother nearly drowned when she was a child, and never learned to swim, instilling the same mistrust of bodies of water into my own childhood. I grew up in a multicultural, working-class urban area, and despite being only a minute drive from the glorious Derwent Valley in the Peak District, as a black kid I felt culturally and spiritually disconnected from the natural amenities of swimming, camping and climbing on my doorstep.
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It was the 90s, and in the wake of Thatcherism, civic spaces had fallen out of favour - my memories are of dried up drinking fountains and derelict paddling pools. In the early 90s, Brockwell lido suffered a similar fate, falling into a state of disrepair, and ultimately closing for more than a decade, before being reopened by a charity. Yes, it can get annoyingly crowded as the police found out when it was stormed by people trying to cool off in the recent heatwavebut mostly it represents convivial, multicultural London at its best, and I always emerge from the water feeling calm, centred, revitalised.
Ready to head back into the burning Babylon. Afropean: Notes From Black Europe by Johny Pitts is out now Allen Lane. I learned to swim in an old stone pool in the grounds of my school, and from there migrated to a freezing lake, so cold it ran a cracking ring around your skull, which may be why this most easterly stretch of the North Sea feels familiarly embracing.
But four years ago, when I challenged myself to swim throughout the year, I realised I hardly knew this sea at all. It was forever changing once I arrived to greet it at the same time every morning.
Wild and rough; rust brown and green; flat as a millpond; metal grey; mother of pearl; silver. It kept its warmth right through the autumn. December was manageable, but the chill, once it settled, lasted late into the spring. In March, a Siberian ice floe seized you by the ankles, and if you listened, urged you to get out. In May, it beat your heart, scalded your skin, left you glowing and refuelled.
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By summer the water I have been accused of exaggeration is warm as a bath. This year I spent a week in Scotland, driving through the West Highlands, up over the north coast and down again along the east.
Super Fans First Day in the Wild - Naked and Afraid
When we arrived it was raining so hard I could hardly see the hire car, let alone the bay, but on the second day, when it was only drizzling, I ran down to the shore at Glenuig. The water was crystal clear, the sea bed thick with shells and minnows, jellyfish and clams. Travelling north, I swam off a coral beach - seaweed, tall as overshot allium, sprouting above the surface, mist keeping other visitors away; and as we rounded the tip of Britain, the evening sun came out over Durness and I swam out to a curve of boulders.
I would have swum on, but there was nothing beyond but Iceland, over 1,km away. And to the surprise of the Philadelphian woman Instagramming her way around the ruins, I whipped off my clothes, pulled on my costume and struck out into the loch.
It was clear and warm and fathoms deep, and my heart hammered with the knowledge there was more water here than in all the lakes of England and Wales combined.
When I came out I was ecstatic. This swim would last me through the long train journey home. Back in Suffolk the sea was brown and green. All the same, I was pleased to see it; to know its dips and shallows, the strength of its current, at what moment, at its roughest, to throw yourself in.
There were my friends, swimming converts themselves now, and our children, most of them grown, waiting at the agreed morning hour. The first swim was more of a wade, the tide was so far out.
The next, later that day, close up against the shore. The third, the night after a storm, the sand treacly, the water refreshing as champagne.
And the fourth had wild whipping waves, warm and jubilant. They swept us up, cascaded us down, chasing hard as we scrambled for the shore, so that, safely out, we stood in the sunshine, our towels flapping, remonstrating happily over whether or not that was the best swim yet.
Esther Freud is the author of Mr Mac And Me Bloomsbury.
The sea is the only place I feel comfortable. My angel was an elderly lady in an East End of London public baths; she wore a rubber hat with daisies on it. Now, every morning, I get out of bed and cycle to the shore - before dawn, often at 3am, in the dark, even in the winter.
To truly enter the hallowed woods remaining, to be so blessed as to receive there a glimmer of what wonders once abounded wild across this earth, you will need to change your skin, drop your usual defences, surrender your stick and tilt of chin. You will need to learn to step more gently, to slower your pace.
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To come as if you were entering a place, known and sacred, to hosts of living beings, More wise and elegant than you. To know that you are on the lowest rung of orders of gorgeous elements, lovers, lost to us, and siblings, which have played upon the strange old rocks, birthed upon the paperbarks, died among the fallen leaves, For eternity of generations.
And whose hallowed groves You, at last, have one day Asked humbly asked to enter. One day, you understood it. You stopped and asked for welcome, waited for permission Let it be known That you come, gently seeking To remember something Of the wonder Of what it is to be at home Among the gentle woodlings Of the wild.
First: you ask to enter. One day. One day, I will see you there. You are commenting using your WordPress. com account.
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Something naked into the wild are not
Notify me of new posts via email. Skip to content Passionfruitcowgirl The end of the world as we knew it.
On entering wild places.