Late last summer he was able to slowly walk across Herring Cove Beach and fall into the water, managing to swim a few yards. A year of intestinal cancer treatments, including ten months in bed, had left Jonathan Scott feeling like an alien. But he instinctually came home to the water, swimming had always been his comfort zone.
At sixty, living with AIDS for thirty years, Jonathan mourned the loss of many friends to the pandemic who had missed the last thirty years of their lives. They had formed a unique family that organized the annual Esther Williams Water Ballet and Bathing Suit Competition. This historic and decidedly queer event was held on July 4th at Herring Cove Beach during the 1980s, and Jonathan reigned as a resplendent Esther herself, tiara and all.
He soon shifted his energy to his work as director of the Victory Programs in Boston, and to the Swim for Life. In Boston, he created twenty programs that treat addiction and homelessness, including the Boston Living Center, the first of its kind in the country to treat HIV and addiction.
He says that Provincetown is a model community for the world, and the Swim for Life shows us the power of community.
“There is no other event like the Swim for Life,” he states, “it’s magic and brings together all the things I love, the full circle of life. It’s an amazing bridge between generations, those that never went through the plague.”
Jonathan is now back on track to swim again on September 9 for his fourteenth time. Provincetown is now his pemenent home, and he is grateful to his longtime husband, full name?? , and their fourteen-year old son, Luis, for their loving support. He makes a daily trip to Herring Cove Beach for his 7:00 am swim, and then collects stones in remembrance of all his lost friends. On the morning of the Swim he visits Pilgrim Park and ritualistically places the stones on the name markers of loved ones, including his lover who died twenty-four years ago.
Jonathan’s journey has brought him to an understanding of what it means to be human, to a place beyond love. To the existential question, what does it mean to be human? Awe is his response. The wonder and mystery of life, of Provincetown, of the Swim, of his family.
Join Jonathan on September 9 at the Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla. Swimmers, kayakers, boaters and volunteers are welcome. Contact: www.swim4life.org Take the plunge!