18 January 2009

impressions of punta arenas


back in New York, Michael reports-- dear Michael! without whom swimming becomes slightly less lighthearted-- he and Jonathan braved sheets of ice along the beach, 12-degree air and 34-degree water. perfect arctic conditions. it's really amazing how we have the ability to experience this sort of training in our hometown-- and at the same beach that becomes our living room, our bar, our gym in the summer months. I am inclined to say that I would rather swim there than anywhere else in the world. and it's not just training-- there is no particular goal involved. it's just beautiful, and crazy, and challenging, and continually presents itself as a new opportunity to stretch and overcome limitations of all sorts.

so how on earth did we end up here, on a bunk bed in the Chile Deportes hostel, the wind howling and shuddering around our slight refuge? what does this mean?

someone in our party, donning jackets after dinner, catches a bottle of wine which explodes on the floor with a bang. Libations, christenings, weddings come to mind. the black dolphins in the strait. children playing along the shore beside the hulls of rusted old ships as the clouds re-array their whiteness and wine-blue haze against a sunnyraining sky. all good omens, if omens. again, the tendency to overinfuse with meaning-- though Cristian and I, at least, are inclined to resist that sort of romanticism. the Lautmans, merry, witty, vacationing, have a different style.

the chop we saw from the airplane was terrifying: whitecaps as far as the eye could see, even from 15000 feet. the weather here turns on a dime.

it's going to be a tough swim.

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