• Jody Kussin

#53 Family Matters Dive In

In These Times by Dr. Jody Kussin, May 6, 2020

“…. we went down to the river and into the river we’d dive…” Thank you, Bruce.

I miss water. Bodies of water other than my tub, that is.

I miss a swimming pool, which I gave up five years ago when we ‘down sized’ and left the big house with the big yard and the perfect pool.

I miss the Merced River, and despite following Yosemite on multiple nature web cams and social media pages, it’s not the same. I’m holding out for the fantasy that we really CAN go to the cabin we rented for 4th of July, as planned a year ago, but…it’s so ‘iffy.’

There are all the songs of the Beach Boys and even the Beatles sang about water and octopuses. Jack Johnson captured it: When this work is done, and this coat is drywhen this world is too much, it will be only the ocean and me.

So, I decided, why not? The beaches are ‘open.’ Why not go for a dip? Or even a swim? Many questions arose. Do we have to wear masks in the water? And if so, will that not contribute to a very quick swim and an early drowning? Which is of greater risk? Potential virus in the water or my purple gloves filling up with water and being impossible to get off later? Are there lifeguards out and about (no) or just police and sheriffs wandering the sand (yes.)

Not typically a risk taker, all this sheltering has made me a little more antsy than usual.

So – down to the water. Ventura Beach to be specific.

Looks like it’s summertime here (which, given the L.A. Heat Wave, is not far from the truth, if not exactly accurate per our calendars.) There are tons of people out and about on this beach on a weekday afternoon. No masks in sight so I figure I’m safe to discard mine. No gloves to be seen. LOTS and lots of signs – no sitting or loitering or sunbathing…no picnicking or visiting with pals….Also, notably, no signs saying, ‘no alcohol’ and I did witness many people ‘exercising’ with open beer bottles from local breweries – supporting local businesses for sure. Nowhere did it say no swimming, however, so I figured I was safe.

Amazing. Exhilarating. Perhaps even spiritually uplifting. I kid you not. Cold water. Beautiful view of surfers, local islands AND blue skies. And one oldish woman, with gray hair and hanging skin, floating on her back, looking up at the fluffy floating clouds, taking in the cacophony of sounds of the local wildlife – seagulls, dolphins, pelicans, and children laughing – and feeling restored.

I recommend a swim to any of you, in any means possible. Take a shower or a bath. Play in the sprinklers or the hose. Wash the cars and patio furniture with sudsy bubbly water. Or better yet, take advantage of why we live in California and head to the beach. Bring your children. Bring your partners. Where possible, bring your dogs.

Wade in or dive in or jump in the waves at the shore.

You can find shells, rocks, sand crabs and that version of yourself you’d lost along the way.

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