why do i love this river so?

bern, switzerland is great in summer. and mostly for one reason: the river aare.

the aare is perfect on all accounts. it’s got fresh water straight from the alps, it’s clean enough so we can swim in it, it’s deep enough, it’s got strong but not too violent pull, the temperature is always refreshing at 21 to 22C max – especially on a very hot day water warmer than that is not all that refreshing.

so all these components really fall into place. but yesterday i thought about all this while taking a swim in the river and still i wondered what makes this such an outstanding experience?

i noticed that there is a certain danger to it – every year a few people do drown in the river – so you can’t just take it easy. you have to stay alert and you have to know what you’re doing. this slight threat of danger has to be faced each time you go in.

then swimming in a river is very particular because you don’t actually have to swim to advance. the river takes you along. it envelops you. takes care of things. yet you do have to a fairly good swimmer to get back out of it. so it asks for your educated surrender, knowing your abilities. in that way it’s elitist. we laugh at tourists or newscomers who are too impressed and do not dare to swim.

but another thing really surprised me. it seems that swimming in the river somehow suspends time. all your sorrows, troubles, worries are left on shore. once you’re in the river there is only the moment. the enjoyment. the water. the sounds.

face your fears – surrender – be in the moment. sounds very zen, and awfully esoteric.
i guess, we could simply say, we got lucky…

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.