Agnes holding her child while standing in the River Ouse. A willow tree is on the left hand side.

Thankful I listened to my body

Agnes holding her child while standing in the River Ouse. A willow tree is on the left hand side.


As soon as I woke up I felt wrong. nausea in my stomach. exhaustion in my bones. thoughts of not being good enough in my mind. I was fed up. irritable. not who I wanted to be with my loved ones.

So I asked for time alone. Time to move my body. Time to walk along the meadow by the river. The sun beating down, flowers opening. I felt relaxed but still not myself. The nausea wouldn't go. The thoughts wouldn't fade.

I felt in my body the need to immerse myself in the water. To swim. The River Ouse is...oozy. Silty and muddy. Smelly in places. Ever present in my childhood. The willows, reeds, birds, midges. Slow. Steady. An expanse of water that can hold its own when the floods come.

I found a spot in the woods, a bit hidden. Where anglers go to fish. It was early and quiet. I dipped my toe in. Warm. Inviting. Without my swimsuit I made a split decision. Stripped down to my underwear, I trod into the silty riverbed. And swam.

My breath caught in my throat. Gasping. Thrilling! Deep breaths. And swim. Long breast strokes. Mouth tight shut (sewage and farmland run off in the back of my mind). Total release.

A heron flies above. The water ripples on my body. The sun glistens on the water. Insects buzz about my head. Weeds brush against my leg. I swim a little faster. Up and down.

We are made of mostly water. There is a theory we evolved to walk on two legs in water. Water births. The river feeding life where ever it flows. The river as the creative life. The river as shared, uplifting power.

On the shore I shake myself dry, undress and quickly put on my dry clothes. I begin to shiver. I can't stop shivering. I lie in the sun of the meadow and feel the warmth on my skin.

I feel elated. The nausea is gone. I am content. Myself again. Ready to return. I am thankful I listened to my body.

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