I watched Cindy go ahead of me into the water, sitting back, holding her nose, and sinking into its cold embrace. I followed, slowly, taking several deep breaths before lowering my trunk down into the icy pool. My breath was full and labored, my lungs almost not large enough. After a few breaths, I held my nose and plunged backwards, bracing myself against the side of the tank, the chill spreading up into my head, needling into my skull. When I could bear holding my breath no longer, I rose up into the air, gasping. Then I braced my back against one side of the pool and my feet against the other, my hands folded into my lap, and began to settle into the frigid reality. The cold made my upper chest and neck cry out with pain, while icicles burned into my bones. My eyes became fixed on the face of the nameless, fat, wooden buddha on the other side of the room, visible through the mist rising from the hot pool. My mind became absolutely clear, and I felt Cindy next to me, comfortable in the cold, witnessing my surrender into the cradle of the feminine.