Keri Hutchinson

the dawn stalkers.

Do you know where the wild things are?

I know where they are, nay, who they are even. 

They call themselves the Dawn Stalkers and they appear, ghostlike, before first light. 

The sea welcomes them in delightful watery whispers. 

They gather, waiting for their numbers to grow. 

The light gradually changes. The early morning sunrise begins to throw flirtatious shards of light across the silky waters of the Severn Estuary. 

The sea whispers some more. A hound accompanies them. He exudes youthful exuberance.

The Dawn Stalkers are ready. 

They are ready to welcome the icy tingle of the water as they shed outer layers and chatter quietens as the concentration begins. 

It takes concentration to be enveloped by the cold. It takes a steely resolve. 

Do you change your mind or do you accept your stinging, tingly fate? 

A whoop is heard, a swear word or two, a stalker gasps louder than was intended. 

The concentration is not broken. 

Another dives below the surface and pops back up almost immediately, shaking the cold water from their being. 

The joy is palpable. 

The sun rewards the stalkers for their devotion and heaves itself above the water sending pink and orange hues of light across the waves. 

Delight. Euphoria. Happiness.

Then the retreat. 

The Stalkers move seamlessly back to the shore. 

They don the layers that were previously unceremoniously shed. 

Flasks clatter. Coffee drunk. Tea slurped. Then the dance. 

Dawn Stalkers dance, pirates dance. They laugh too, the euphoria of the cold water triggers heady emotions, a legal high. 

The adventure and the wildness is celebrated. 

 “Inside all of us is hope, inside all of us is adventure, inside all of us is a wild thing” 

 Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

#TeamSelkie Keri Hutchinson is an experienced, year round swimmer from Cardiff. 
This is what she had to say:
 "Lockdown has meant that I had been looking for places to swim that were within walking/cycling distance to my house. Penarth seafront was the closest and although I had swum there previously, it wasn’t in my usual routine. One day I swam there and met a lovely group of swimmers and felt inspired by that swim to write this: I hope you enjoy it."