September Plunge

Keep a swimsuit in the bag at all times these days. The glistening water that seemed to wink at you as you drove by, flirting with you as you cursed the traffic and the work that kept you away so many days this summer, is still warm and waiting for you. Be ready to shed the dry clothes when the mood strikes you, even if it has to be a quickie. If you’ve played on the beach with the kids all summer, try going solo after school drop-off. Then surprise them with after-school snacks on the sand in their special spot again.

Swim around. Beaches don’t mind if you’re unfaithful. Go fresh for a change, slapping your arms through the water in Seth’s Pond, cutting across, legs thrashing in Phelpsian fashion, or slowly, silently, breast stroking out to the middle and back; chances are you’ll be the only one there, the center of calm for a change.

Get salty, going out to State Beach or the Inkwell; pull over and at least take one jump off Big Bridge, because the maybe-I-shouldn’t-be-doing-this fun is there every time. Or make your swim a reward for hiking the trail at Great Rock Bight, and you’ll be reminded that the walk is reward itself; it’s two for one.

When there’s wild weather, as we had this weekend, take the next opportunity to visit the big waves, if only to look; beware the rips and play in the shallows with a friend. If sweet-talking the lingering guards sounds too hard, pay per view at Long Point or head out to deliciously free South Beach. Or go beachcombing along the Tisbury shore.

The water has treasures that the flesh will long for, come the long winter. So what do you say? Just one more late summer swim?