Monday, January 8

water

Saturday was unusually warm. Everybody who lives here knows that already. But if you’re not from here, you might not realize that it reached 70º Fahrenheit. A record high, I believe. Maybe it made the news in other parts of the world, who knows.

I thought that the weather was going to be lousy, so when it turned out to be such a lovely day, the Joes and I took off to Walden Pond. I grabbed two towels before we left, hoping for a swim if the sun stayed strong.

The sun did stay strong, and I did go for a swim (the Joes did not), and basically froze my nuts off. The water was much, much colder than I thought it would be. Cold, but exhilarating. And very painful. It was worth it though.

Saturday, in addition to being unseasonably warm, was also Epiphany. For Greeks Epiphany is a celebration of water, commemorating Christ’s baptism in the Jordan. In certain parts of the Greek-speaking world (including the Greek islands, Istanbul, and Tarpon Springs, Florida, where there is a large Greek community from the island of Kalymnos), crowds gather at the pier, from which a priest hurls a gold cross into the sea, whereupon dozens of adolescent boys and young men―women are excluded from this ritual―dive into the water hoping to retrieve the cross as it sinks to the bottom. Whoever returns to the surface with the cross in his hand receives a special blessing and the accolades of the community.

At Walden this past Saturday, there was no gold cross, no priest, no cheering crowd. Just me in wet boxers, my Joes, and a few curious onlookers. But I’m glad I did it. I felt amazing afterwards. The air was warm and as soon as I dried off, my skin felt all tingly. Afterwards, we went for a lovely walk around the perimeter of the pond. Little Joe loved it, even though he thought I was nuts for swimming.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous evangelia said...

at my church, girls were allowed to dive for the cross. must be because my liberal-hippie dad was the priest :). i never did it though, did you, dino?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

kali chronia, evangelia mou!

so your dad was a priest, huh? where did you grow up that it was warm enough to dive for the cross in january? i grew up north of boston in a coastal town, but january in massachusetts isn't normally as warm as it's been this year so far :) i'd like to visit tarpon springs for their epiphany celebration someday.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous evangelia said...

kali xronia :)

in san diego, it's usually sunny on epiphany, but the water is cold as frosted flakes. plus, there's the embarrassment factor of being in your swimsuit in front of 675783269 greeks.

5:20 PM  

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