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    Thursday, January 01, 2009

    Hansen Dam Polar Bear Swim 2009

    I have kept the tradition alive...barely. Almost didn't make it to my 4th annual Hansen Dam Polar Bear Swim. I am sure glad I did. Per usual, it was a gorgeous sunny morning in the low 50s, but so nice in the direct sunlight.

    My secret weapon this year? Practicing a little in a MUCH colder pool during the week. I decided I wanted to try and swim the entire distance rather than walk across or dolphin leap across the 100 meter pool.

    At first it felt great, yet little by little my strength started to drain from my arms, as I got closer to the finish of the swim, the harder it became to make forward progress without allowing my feet to touch the bottom of the pool.

    Why do I do it? Because it makes me feel alive. It makes the New Year really FEEL like a new birth. It cleanses me and awakens me to new possibilities and new hopes.

    Also, it is the comradeship. People whom I see just once a year on this day at this place. The ritual we share: swimming, warming ourselves by the fire, hot chocolate, smiles and an attempt to sum up our past year in a flurry of flowing words and stories. Delightful.

    If you haven't tried it already, I recommend a New Year's Day ritual that allows you to feel reborn and new. The polar bear swim at Hansen Dam is one great way to do it.

    What's really beautiful for me this year is the fact that I can look out across the Hansen Dam Recreational Area and see where I live at Weathertop Farms, looking south across the big lake in Hansen Dam. It gives an interesting perspective on life when you can see beautiful mountains and hills, unspoiled by development, all around you...even in LA...a paradise to me.

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