Cami has a first-class degree in psychology, and stepped out of university and straight into the publishing world nine-ish years ago. Cami is an editor at Vertebrate Publishing, working on frontlist titles as well as heading up the ebook and print on demand programmes. In her free time she enjoys bouldering, climbing, walking, swimming ... well; she'll give anything a go if it means spending time in nature. When not outside she can be found drawing, practising yoga, reading, or playing with her handsome and most beloved cat, Joey.
‘Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of nature you may renew your own.’ – John Muir
It was mid-July, and my first experience of the French Alps bare of snow. Based in Morzine in the Haute Savoie for a spot of climbing, via ferrata and a substantial hike, it was a trip that I had been looking forward to with childlike enthusiasm. However, it was an impromptu jaunt that had the most unforgettable impact on me.
I had researched the Lac de Montriand – known as the emerald green lake – prior to the trip. I had decided that if we should find ourselves nearby – closer to the truth, if I could brave the cold – then I would like to swim in the startlingly blue waters. My experience of wild swimming is extremely limited: I feel the cold very easily, and I have an irrational concern about bitey fish taking an interest in my prone flesh.
It all happened very organically. We had found ourselves climbing at a crag in thirty-degree midday sun with no water, due to a late start and a switched-off water supply. When we could bear it no longer, we sped off to find water and then on to the nearby Lac de Montriand to cool off. I think it was this desperate need to slake my thirst as well as to lower my body temperature that emphasised the transformative effect of my experience.
We drank and drank, then stripped off to take the first shy steps into the shallows. Why was I surprised at how cold it was? The water had run straight off the high mountains, after all. However, I was determined to get in, as I knew that after a minute of desperate breaths and painful nipples, the immersion would be rewarding.
I breaststroked around, head above water, taking everything in: the beautiful refreshment on my skin; my vista of thick pine forest on the cliff side with peaks beyond; and the cloudless, picture-perfect skies. I stopped to tread water, slowly turning 360 degrees so I might take in every angle. I could see my legs underwater, a reminder of how pure the water is: I was bathing in Evian. I felt I could trust it; I wasn’t scared of its depths.
I realised I was harnessing energy by swimming in the lake, not expending it. I was alert, my senses heightened as I tried to commit every sensation to memory. I wanted to stay, but it was becoming harder to ignore the chill creeping deeper into me. Reluctantly, I made my way to the shore.
As I emerged, I felt serene and satisfied. I had shed the habitual clutter and nonsense from my mind. Drying naturally in the still blazing sunshine, my outlook was one of tolerance, positivity and appreciation. My composure restored, I’d been given a timely reminder to be more present. Moving through the Lac de Montriand’s seductive waters had, paradoxically, grounded me.
See more of Cami on her Instagram:
Vertebrate's website is: www.v-publishing.co.uk