Like many other organisations, sadly our plans for the year have been badly affected by Covid-19 and we have had to postpone our planned conference next month as the campsite we were planning to use remains closed. However we are in negotiation with them and looking for a new date next spring or early summer when things may be more settled again. This is deeply disappointing for us all here at the COOPT steering group but we are planning some online events for the intervening months and will keep you all posted via e mail, this blog and our Facebook page.
Meanwhile, change is in the air as Autumn approaches – the season of ‘mellow fruitfulness’. Gardeners amongst you will be clearing dying summer blooms and planting winter greens and leeks and when we pack our rucksacks and bags we’ll be adding an extra layer as the air becomes cooler and the sun less strong.
As a child, I spent several weeks every summer holidaying at Constantine Bay in Cornwall. I learned to swim in the rock pool at Treyarnon Bay, surfed on wooden body boards and at home joined the local swimming club which met at an outdoor pool. I went on to swim competitively at club and county trials level, training at the start of the seasons in water temperatures of around 54F degrees. In adult life, swimming in an indoor heated pool felt quite luxurious! Living in Weymouth now, I have taken to sea swimming with a view to trying other wild waters in time. Over the summer, the water has been warm but as it begins to cool, I’m considering a wetsuit so that I can swim through the deep winter months alongside the many others who can be seen cutting through the waters of the bay on any evening. The health benefits of cold water swimming are widely recognised including improved mental health and well being, a boosted immune system, improved circulation and sleep, increased metabolisom and most importantly, a deep, embodied connection with nature.
It is this that will support us through the coming months and any increased restrictions we might have to face. To be outside in wind and rain, to feel the cold and then to come inside and feel warmth will be the things that help us to feel alive. The sights and smells of autumn which we had hoped we could share together will still be there – the palette of colours as leaves turn, the ripe berries along the hedgerows and the smoke from bonfires. I hope you can take time to go out and enjoy everything the changing seasons have to offer and tho we can’t join together around the conference campfire, maybe you can share a fire with 5 friends, and warm your hearts together. So look out for each other, take care of yourselves and we will see you soon.