It was already hot this August morning as I ended my run along the Virginia Beach boardwalk. The sun popped up and spread the colored light over sand and sea. I was very fit running almost 40 miles per week for a couple of years now. On summer mornings like this I liked to take a swim. If the tide was going out I would swim a mile south. If the tide was coming in I would swim my mile going north.
The tide was coming in so left my shoes near the board walk at 24th street and waded in to swim north. It’s very common to see dolphins in this area. The Virginia Beach oceanfront is at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Bay creatures and ocean creatures mix here. Hunters and the hunted. As I neared the end of my swim I was surrounded by a pod of dolphins close in to the beach. I know dolphins are friendly. I also heard that if dolphins are around there are probably no sharks. Even so they are really big when they are right next to you in the water.
I was spooked so I swam as fast as I could to the shoreline. I came crashing out of the surf and out of breath. There was an elderly woman in good shape head-down power walking right along the water line. Our two worlds met. She looked at me. Shirtless. A right arm amputee. Dripping. And then she looked at the fins in the water from where I had just come.
She screamed and ran to the boardwalk as fast as she could. It took me a second to puzzle what the hell? The life guards had just arrived at their stands. I was surrounded immediately. The rescue squad siren could be heard. After putting it altogether and confirming I was okay everyone laughed. I don’t do this anymore. I haven’t grown a new arm yet to stop this kind of thing from happening. Maybe next year.