Skins swim, 8 am this morning. Water and air sharing 40-something temps, cloudy gray, typical winter swim on South Whidbey.

Gloves, booties, double cap, old bikini. I probably should be more careful with my suit, maybe double check the elastic, considering when I get out after 15 minutes I can’t feel much.

 A little rough but no driftwood to dodge. Just a quick dip in the upper half of the Pacific, my half, before heading south for a swim trip in the Galapagos. 

Yes I’m one of the (very) lucky ones.

I hope I see penguins! I want to ask them what’s wrong with my hemisphere. We have all the same stuff: fish, tropical and snowy climates, islands. Just no penguins. Please explain.

My sense of place always becomes wobbly right before a big trip. I love travel, love getting back to more of it as the girls grow up and leave, love that they love it too. So much love! 

But love comes with strings sometimes, or can feel like it does. Responsibility. Those who need us. 

When I was younger I flew without a single care. If I remembered my passport and underwear, I was set. Now I stress a little, get a bit anxious if I’m honest. If I fall out of the sky, a lot would change for the people I love. They’d survive my not-surviving, but still. 

Maybe heaven is just a place without guilt. Or accidents.

I counter my anxiety by trying to pack everything *perfectly.* Because if I remember the sandals that double as hiking shoes, AND enough small bills to tip the driver at the airport, the plane will get there without incident. I’ll be safe.

But staying safe gets you nowhere but that place called Stuck. And there’s no penguins there, either.