I flipped through the pictures on my wife's digital camera the other day when I came across a few dozen images still on her SD card from our vacation to Europe last summer. The picture on the left is me braving the extremely cold waters just north of Cabo da Roca.
Portugal, you see, lies between the North Atlantic Drift and the Canary Current, and for much of the year the water off the northern coasts of Portugal is quite chilly. I found this fact difficult to reconcile with the warm temperatures in Portugal during the month of August.
Yet the water at the Praia das Maçãs was as cold as that found in Lake Superior during the month of April.
And there I stood, waist-deep in the icy surf, too stubborn and proud to admit that I drove an hour on winding roads through the Serra de Sintra only to find a beach that no sensible person would leave for a swim.
Oblivious, of course, to the eight-foot sea swell that loomed just overhead.
I also found it strange to see myself in images, not necessarily in a narcissistic way, but because I take thousands of pictures of subjects other than me. My wife had dozens of these pictures of my pudgy self, and looking at all these pictures of me was kind of like seeing the world through a different pair of eyes, or like reading someone else's diary. God only knows what she sees in me, but I am thankful that at least one person on the planet is not repelled by my love handles.