Chilmark, Winter, Snow, Alison Shaw

I imagine most people pick August, going to the beach and being outside, but my ideal day is New Years Day. Every January 1st, for the past eight years, regardless of the weather, a couple of families and mine have gone swimming on Lambert’s Cove Beach.  It started as two families, me, my wife, Kim, and my daughters Clea and Signe, with (photographer) Wayne Smith and his daughter, Willoughby, and son, T.T.

The Smiths were over on New Years Eve and someone threw out the idea, even though it was incredibly cold. Since then, the number’s grown. David Vigneault and his wife Sarah Vail come with their daughters, but only one of the girls, Willa (who’s in junior high) swims. Little Ava comes and watches. Last December, there were about 20 people there, and a bunch of our friends come every year to watch.

You gotta swim. Those people in Boston, most of them go up to their knees and come out. You gotta dunk. You have to swim around. We insist on full immersion. But we don’t hang around too long. If you want the sensation of your heart pounding a foot out of your chest, this will do it. But the vision of shock and horror on the faces of your children when they go in is worth it.

After, we go back to my house and do a hot tub to warm up. We’re cold! The spectators don’t get to go in the hot tub. They don’t deserve to get in. After, we all hang out and have breakfast.