Wow It’s 48 Again

Courtesy of Matt Simms. Thanks Matt!

First swim back today after six weeks! I’ve been counting down the days since my surgery, waiting for today. It was flat, it was sunny, but man was it 48 deg!

And let’s be clear: the water felt like 48. I did not.

During one of those long 42 days out of the water, I wrote down all of the new swims my buddies and I did this summer, back when it was warmer. And mostly sunny. And not November.

Thanks for a great summer, guys. The pic below was taken back when Island County was in Phase 3, and outdoor groups of 50 or less could gather. After this, we swam in groups of 10 or less. (Yep, that’s my disclaimer, folks.)

If you read this list and remember one we did that I forgot, please let me know.

New Summer Swims 2020

  • Chuckanut Bay
  • Lake Cle Elum
  • Columbia River
  • Clackamas River
  • Willamette River
  • Whidbey-to-Mukilteo Ferry Crossing (almost to Edmonds!)
  • Whidbey-to-Camano Crossing (both days!)
  • Clinton ferry park
  • Double Bluff to Robinson Beach
  • Phosphorescence Night Swims Useless Bay
  • Bush Point
  • Bush Point to Shore Meadow
  • Lagoon Point to Bush Point
  • Glendale to Sandy Hook
  • Bells Beach to Baby Island
  • Beverly Beach to Baby Island 
  • Greenbank Farm Wonn Road public access
  • Ebeys Landing
  • Driftwood Park to Keystone Spit
  • Golden Gardens
  • Mukilteo Ferry to Boeing dock

Not too bad for a global pandemic summer laced with surgery anxiety. Here’s to new experiences in crappy times. Somehow they just shine a little brighter.

–TJ Wiley Forsyth

Feeling It All

Driving to one of many many (so many!) swims this summer, a song came on my Spotify that stopped me mid-thought. Isn’t it great when that happens? You hear a certain lyric out of the blue and it’s like getting hit between the eyes. 

The song was People Get Old by Lori McKenna. Not the most clever title, invoking an initial “no duh!” response from me when I first heard it. But then this verse:

Time is a thief / Pain is a gift / The past is the past / It is what it is.

The last line is cliche, so we can skip that. But time is a thief? Absolutely. Pain is a gift? Truth. Eight words that sum up my summer.

I realize I’ve been remiss on the blog posts. Thanks to the folks that asked and prodded me to get back at it. I love you all.

But I make no apologies for the last three months. I swam my ass off, farther and stronger and better than ever before. Just like I promised myself I would while recovering from my mastectomy in April. 

It feels good to keep a promise to yourself.

And when I had to choose to write or swim? You know what I did.

I’m out of the water again, six weeks this time, following my DIEP flap breast rebuild surgery. (Wow did that suck. But  I’m back to wading!) Plastic surgery is crazy magic. Who knew all that Brie and beer built up on my gut over the years would come in handy? 

So relieved this final step on my stupid cancer “journey” (eye roll) is complete. I feel like a cat out of the bath. 

Pain is a gift.

This afternoon I’m turning the tables, albeit briefly, and stealing from time instead of the other way around. The sun’s out, the new puppy is asleep, and I’m wearing real pants as I write this. (Trust me, after that surgery, it’s a big deal.)

Feeling so much gratitude for it all.

–TJ Wiley Forsyth