Stay Out of Cold Water

I have had a splendid relationship with the cold. I grew up traveling to Maine and swimming in the chilly Atlantic (a past time I maintained until my last visit a few years ago). I lived in Binghamton, NY and started my foray into running during the winter. I put in my 5 miles three or four days a week in snow and ice and temperatures that registered in single digits.

This past winter I started getting a bright red rash on my hands on cold days that I shoveled snow or spent time outdoors. It bugged me, and I chalked it up to who knows what. Internet searches were inconclusive.

So today we went to the beach, and Virginia Beach, mind you, and after about half an hour of grown up frolic in the waves, I got out. Within a few minutes my body was covered by that winter rash and small welts right up to where the water reached below my shoulders. Add to this the histamine shock that followed, but I got to the towel and rested until my pulse settled to its normal.

When we came home, there, as plain as day, was my ailment, which is just as stupid a condition as one could imagine and with no apparent cause. Can I say, “Cold Urticaria. Really?”

At some point we just accumulate miles, and stuff happens. Contact with the world brings all sorts of expected and unexpected pleasure, despair, and annoyance. So, right now, annoyance (at the same time: great joy: Daughter’s first visit to the beach!). If I stay out of the cold, there’s nothing to see. Or I can take a handful of antihistamines and plunge away.

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Brian Brennan

I am a writer and a teacher. I have lived in Philadelphia, Binghamton, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Northern Virginia. I have sailed on the ocean and flown over the North Pole. I write fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

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