From the 10th floor we watched the full moon come up last night, enormous and orange and visibly rising. The moon drew a path between us starting at our window and dropping down onto the windshields of cars below where it disappeared and reappeared with traffic. It then went white onto the stones on the beach and reflected broadly as a yellow band across the lake. It ran on the opposite shore, up the silhouettes of mountains and finally ended in some clouds where the sky glowed. We could find the moon no problem, we were connected. We could walk there if needed. Slowly the full moon rose and the night felt like an event – like we might be there the one and only time this happened.
The doorman at the hostel organized everyone for a moonlight swim, we´d leave at 11:30 and take a plunge together. He said that this was, in fact, the first time they´d ever done this with the hostel, so maybe it really was the one and only time. I like to think so.
There was a woman from Sacramento who didn´t go. Later that night, we´d be talking on the balcony and she´d tell me the stock market fell hard yesterday, the Feds dropped the rates again and the dollar plummeted against the Euro.
We left in a large group from the hostel – the elevator could fit 7 at a time so we emerged on the ground floor in clumps until finally everyone was down and ready to go. It was cold out, and from earlier swimming we knew the water was freezing, barely tolerable. None of us was really looking forward to the actual act, just the momentousness of it – that we were spontaneous and present. Isn´t that travel?
It would be, I realized, one of the most beautiful things I´ve done – and I´m glad I realized that on the beach beforehand because it made it much easier to go in. We took off our clothes (we were wearing bathing suits, unfortunately), stepped out of our sandals onto the stones, and we cautiously walked down the beach. I waded into the water yelping, everyone else was screaming and splashing. You could see the bottom, the moon being so bright and the water so clear, and I thought some people might break their toes on large rocks if they went running into the water.
I dunked my head under and all my skin went numb. The water was shocking, it was literally breathtaking. I stayed in maybe 30 seconds, just enough to enjoy watching everyone jump around in the moonlight against the mountains, then I scurried to get out. Az and Autsy came in a bit after me, so I left them back in the water, screaming and howling themselves. When we were all standing on the rocky shore the air and wind felt so warm that I actually let myself dry without using a towel.