As part of a New Year’s day ritual many people in Tacoma took part in the MetroParks’ Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1, 2013. Tacoma is not the only place in the country to hold an event like this, in fact its quite common to find a swimming event like this at this time of the year. Its possible that these events may have some Pagan roots or superstitions behind them as it is the first day of the new year and a time for starting new things and cleaning out the old.
Of course, if you were in Tacoma yesterday you may be shivering just at the thought of going outside let alone outside in a bathing suit. The sun was out and it was a bright and shiny day but it was very cold and in many places ice and frost remained through out the day. However, there was a good turn out for the swim this year and several people took the life cleansing plunge into the Puget Sound.
The temperature at the time of the swim barely reached 39 degrees and the water in the Puget Sound were just a few degrees warmer. Despite the chilly reading on the thermometer there were hundreds of people at the event and most of them took part. If you have ever jumped into a pool that was just a little too cold for you it might be hard to think about stripping down to your bathing suit and getting in the water. Yet this years MetroParks’ Polar Bear Plunge had great attendance and many participants.
The group of Polar Bear swimmers jumped off of a float at the Point Defiance boat launch and many had nothing to say after, or were so cold that they could not speak. One of the few that could still speak was Rick Remmert, and after his quick swim he said that its “Not so bad.” For those that found themselves frozen in silence after their swim there was a warming tent on site.
This time of the year a swim in the frigid water is not suggested but if you would like to symbolically cleanse yourself for the up coming year taking a trip to the waters edge may not be a bad idea. Maybe dip a toe or hand into the cold and renewing water, spend some time there in meditation or other such activity. This is also a good time to collect a small bottle of water from a body of water to use for cleaning your alter or other items.