Taking The Plunge

I found myself anticipating some considerable changes in my life today and the sense of adrenalin that often accompanies such contemplations brought to mind such a strong recollection that I feel the need to share it.

Many moons ago, as a sixteen year old, travelling in The South Of France, I visited a swimming pool high up in the mountainous gorges high above Nice. I had been travelling for hours on a very slow mobilette and was very tired, dusty and hot when I stopped for the swim.

I can so clearly remember standing at the edge of the pool, about to dive in, looking down at the completely blue, unruffled waters (no one else was in the pool and it was completely still). I knew that the water was going to be cold despite the surface heat because it was unheated and the mountain altitude meant it got very cold over night. I knew that diving into it was going to be like hitting a brick wall.

The sense of adrenalin at the anticipated impact and attendant shock was so like the feeling now of facing change.

I took a deep breath and dived cleanly into the pool. The numbing impact of the cold water, the rushing noise as it filled my ears, the increased pressure on my body and my ears as I plunged deep into the still waters, the greying of the light, all contributed to an other worldly feeling which, although harsh, was also beautiful. I can still remember now surrendering myself to the sensations, intense as they were, and savouring my total immersion in the situation.

I then noticed the sunlight above me and the sparking surface of the water ringed by the blue edges of the pool and backed by the deep blue of the cloudless sunny sky above. I took a deep pull with my arms and slid through the water towards the other end of the pool and the beckoning surface.

Breaking through that surface into the intense sunlight and the instant warmth on my skin are feelings I can recreate with precision to this day, almost thirty years later.

They are also sensations that give me confidence that whatever changes come my way I have the ability to give myself fully to the unfamiliar world of total immersion and intensity that accompanies major change and to relish the sensation as I live through to surface once again into the sunlight.