Florida winters are cool and breezy. As a daily exerciser, during the cooler months I rollerblade up and down a quiet street in my neighborhood listening to my favorite tunes.
However, during the hot, balmy Sarasota summers I can’t tolerate the pounding heat so my exercise of choice is walking in the water. The Gulf of Mexico, close to my Siesta Key home, offers soothing, cool relief from the radiant sun.
For years, on a daily basis in the summer I would ride my bike to the water’s edge, wade into the inviting sea and begin my meditative walk.
Since moving to Florida from New York City in 1990, walking in the water has truly been one of my favorite things to do. Basking in the sea is soothing and relaxing to my body, mind and spirit, as I drink in the incredible vast beauty all around me in the sand, water and sky. I also love the benefits: walking through the water gives my body a much-needed enjoyable and fat-burning exercise.
Then there was that one unforgettable August day three summers ago . . . It seemed like just another hot day. I didn’t know the water would be rough until I arrived at the edge of the Gulf after my 10-minute bike ride through the heat to get there.
I’m always reluctant to go into wavy surf because, as much as I love the outdoors and the beauty of the ocean, I’ve always had a fear of the water. I can’t swim. My husband has tried on numerous occasions to arrange for swimming lessons for me. However, two experiences of near-drowning earlier in my life had kept me reluctant to do so. After researching my situation, I also learned that some people just don’t float, and it has to do with the number of fat cells a person does or doesn’t have. My experience has definitely been that I do not float in the water—rather, I sink!
However, on this day I wanted relief from the high temperature, so I decided to go in anyway. I was walking along in the water, entering into a peaceful zone, feeling my body embraced by the sea. I felt safe because I cautiously was making sure that the water would not go over my chest.
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