My first venture out into water, halted as soon as my toes hit liquid that I could tell was much colder than blood. I see myself in shorts up to the bottom of my ankles in seemingly frigid water, shivering and hunched over for warmth. I was being encouraged to quickly get in, and advised, “You’ll get used to it.” I saw no sense in getting used to freezing to death. So I took the slow approach and tried to inch my way to deeper waters. Every step seemed grueling and painful. It seemed to take a long time and I had to guard against cold waters splashing on the upper parts of my body, that were not yet subjected to being immersed. Even though it felt like the parts immersed were indeed “getting use to it,” I could see no benefit of continuing this strenuous task. For me, sweltering air was not that bad. I recall finding enough relief from heat, by the time I reached knee depth in water. Then I turned and ran out, fully satisfied with my water experience.
After several attempts I finally managed to get fully immersed. It seemed shocking at first and eventually I did get used to it. The water did not become warm, but I could stand it. The only thing that made it bearable is the frolicking that could take place in this liquid buoyant atmosphere. However, the chilling effect was not yet finished. The next painful phase emerged when I came out of the water. The cooling effect of water evaporating off wet skin immediately hit me. The only relief came from dunking back in cool waters. It seemed incredulous that something so cool to get into now provided semblance of warmth. Surely, I had entered an upside down world. Now it was important to have towels and dry cloths near at hand to cover up quickly so that my body could return to the comfort of blistering heated air. I quickly learned to prefer the cooling effect of sweat evaporating off my near naked body than go through this arduous cooling method.