Five minutes. We only had five minutes left before we had to pack up, dust off, and head out. We had been at the beach for nearly two hours, and it was time to return to the house. I had built sand castles. I had collected shells. I had diligently watched my daughters, nieces, and nephews anytime they approached the water's edge. I had stuck my toes in. But I had not swum.
I love swimming in the ocean. The salt, the spray, the feeling of bouyancy, the power of the current, the thrill of a wave cresting -- everything about being in the ocean reminds me I'm alive. I resist getting into a pool that's too cold, lowering myself down the ladder tentatively, holding my arms aloft, standing on tiptoe. But the ocean? Cold will not deter me.
But five measly minutes nearly did.
Who begins swimming during the final five minutes at the beach? That's when you dry off and begin the impossible task of wiping sand from your legs. I figured that I had missed my window. That is, until my father-in-law suggested, "Why don't you go in, Robin?"
My immediate response was to decline. Why get soaking wet now when I'll just need to sit on a folded beach towel during the drive home? Why bother with the hassle?
As I hesitated, he added, "Anything that gets wet dries off."
Good point. The girls were being cared for by others. The only person holding me back was me. I took off through the surf and battled through the first breaking wave. For five amazing minutes I swam in the ocean -- fully aware of the chill, the salt on my lips, the sound of the pounding waves, the sunlight glinting off thousands of swelling tips of wavetops stretching toward the horizon.
I'm dry now when I type this. It was entirely worth the hassle.