By Daisy Luther
There comes a day when we learn that we have gotten so far away from nature and simplicity that it’s laughable.
That day was yesterday for me, when a friend of mine laughingly shared an article on Facebook called, “If you haven’t tried wild swimming, here’s what you’re missing.”
Wild swimming. It’s a thing.
Even though my kids just call it “swimming,” (and we do it for free on a regular basis) city dwellers are spending big money to do it, according to this article. As you can see by the photo accompanying my little essay, my dog and daughter are both exceptionally fashionable.
In London, England, a pond was dug. It is home to frogs, lily pads, and other water life, and you can (gasp) swim there. It’s part of a $4.5 billion project to jazz up King’s Crossing. Artist Marjetica Potrč dreamed up the idea of the pond, and Ooze Architects of Rotterdam designed it. Folks are in awe of the fact that it is naturally filtered by…well…nature. According to an article posted on Quartz.com, “It will be 40 meters (131 feet) long when complete, and filtered by a “closed-loop” process that utilizes wetland and submerged water plants.”
So this “wild swimming” experience is actually manmade. The author says, “It may sound a bit strange to be swimming among plants, but it’s tamer than the swims in lakes, rivers and seas.” I guess this is “wild swimming lite.”
If you’re confused at all, the article even explains “How to wild swim.”
“When we started the general perception of wild swimming was that it was cold dirty, dangerous, and possibly illegal,” says Kate Rew, who nearly a decade ago founded the UK’s Open Swimming Society, which orgnizes group swims and provides information for dippers. She says that perception has changed completely. The OSS now has 25,000 members, a “huge community that’s grown in this country that’s quite different to the rest of Europe,” Rew explains. She chalks up the increase in wild swimming’s popularity to the growing interest in extreme sports like surfing and mountaineering.
There’s even a website totally dedicated to this fascinating new pasttime: Wildswim.com will help you find bodies of water near you if you happen to be in England and don’t know where they are.
This isn’t just a UK thing, though. There is a Facebook page dedicated to “wild swimming” in the US also. In fact, books also exist on the topic: this one includes a hike as well as a swim, and this one finds “wild swimming” locales in France.
Wild swimming. This is how far we’ve come from our roots. The fact that it’s at all unusual to swim in a natural body of water blows my mind. I’d much rather go for a dip in the ocean or the lake than soak in chlorine and algacide in a concrete swimming pool, but apparently for some people, that is considered the “normal” way to swim, while hiking out to a wide spot in the river is outrageously adventurous. As a survival-minded person, you have to be reading this and shaking your head along with me. As a frugality-minded person, why on earth would you pay to dip yourself in chemicals when a perfectly good swimming hole is only a hike away? What better inexpensive day out could there possibly be for a family?
So, if you’re looking for something to do with the family on this hot summer day, find a local pond and go for a dip. You can even show your , trendy teen this article so he or she knows that, regardless of personal thrift, this is an activity on the cutting edge for hipsters everywhere.