Writing every day, for 30 days, is a challenge. Most times, it is a challenge taken lightly and since there are no real punitive consequences, it can really be tossed off at any moment. No one is forcing me to write today. Yet, I feel compelled to complete the mission. This brings to mind a story:
When I first went off to summer camp, not the first time, the second time. The first time I went to a camp, it was not the best experience. I didn’t make any friends and the camp ran out of desserts on Wednesday, so we had banana pudding the rest of the week. My best friend got bitten by a spider and I discovered chiggers in all the most uncomfortable places. But, the second time I went to camp it was with a lot more people I knew, the camp seemed to be a little more organized. The cabins had electricity and indoor plumbing and I made friends who I didn’t know already.
Anyway, at this camp, they had an activity called the “Polar Bear Swim.” This was an early morning swim held around 6:30 a.m. The goal was to make it all week long. Nothing more to do, no certain number of laps, no holding your breath goal…just show up, every day. The first day was easy; away from home, swimming with friends, plus, a LOT of people make the first day. The second day was similar, still a lot of people, but not as easy to get out of bed, especially after such a long day of activity. By the fourth day, I was wakened by my counselor for Polar Bear…but I couldn’t do it. I had a headache and the canoe trip the day before had left me totally drained. I couldn’t answer the bell and while I was sad about missing the swim, I was happy to have another 40 minutes or so sleep before a shower.
I went to that camp for years, and I never did make it every day. As I got older, I rationalized it away knowing that it didn’t really matter. There was no real prize for making it every day other than the pride of knowing you did it. I miss not having done that, even at this point in my life, but I don’t miss cold water that early in the morning.
So today, I answered the bell. I sat down with my laptop and jumped into the cold water, feet first. Tomorrow, we’ll see if I can continue the “Polar Bear.”
See you in the funny papers!