Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Oceanic indifference

The oceanic indifference provided the perfect backdrop to my, quiet, determined and nearly futile attempt to make my way back, safely to the shore of cobblestones. (This one was soo close that its memory basically Jaws’d me out of the water for the last 8 days or so.) When my leash initially broke, my board floated a mere 5 feet away. This 5 feet was enough to transform a routine surf session into an exit planet earth drill. As I tried to grab my red-glassed fun board, a wave beat me to it, taking it away, out of sight of the eyes in my bobbing head. Within 10 seconds, it was forgotten. Things were not so good. Swimming the freestyle encased within my 3 year old full Hammer wetsuit proved to drain my energy faster than a presidential address. I rolled on my back like an otter in an oil spill and began kicking my way to shore. The current headed away from the shoreline fast enough to slow me down. Tried to touch ground; nothing. Kick a while. Try again: nothing. Now I am really getting tired. The water is freezing and it is hard to breathe. Finally a wave finds a way to break in my little troughy death trap; roll to stomach, try and freestyle a body surf ride, kind of get it but tiring, another wave, try again, way too tiring, roll on back kick, kick, kick. A wave crashes on forehead – it feels like a video game stealing energy and everything gets dimmer; another wave crashes on my forehead and this one feels like Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is trying to make sure that I am dead. I meet the oceanic indifference with my own brand of detachment thru out this wholly self-created fiasco. Stubbornly, ploddingly, I ignore the pain in my left quadriceps. I try not to think of the ramifications of the radical redistribution of oxygen that has now begun to accelerate. Finally, my left quad muscle freezes. Right leg sinks, everything gets dark grey and- ground, ah, nice, I’m standing on shifting river stones. Extremely tired. The ocean tries one last time to redistribute my personal trillion-cell network among the local inhabitants but I manage to stand my ground. Slowly, I trudge over to my board, corralled by a young blond haired surfer. “You ready for it?”

“No. I think I’m gonna pass out.”

He smiles, gives the board a push and continues with his own board to deeper waters. I grab mine and shuffle onward like a zombie from the Hills Have Eyes.

8 days later at Surfers’ Point,

I teeter on the edge, watching the 30 or so surfers spread out in the water, the waves; should I surf or not? That is the only question. “Why am I all the way down here then?” [watch me query my self into submission] No answer. [clock ticking: tic toc tic toc tic toc tic toc] And then, there it is: the answer: Get in the water and surf. This seems to be some kind of over ride command or something because that is just what I do. Debate is over. Go. Do. Be.

Oops. I never got another cord for my surf leash. I ask a couple surfers if they have any spare cord but they are unable to assist me. As harrowing as my last surfing experience was, it still was not enough to motivate me to fix my leash. I guess there truly must be some part of myself that does not want nets. Does not want guardrails. Does not want insurance. Does not want reminders of the possibility of failure. I look at the water and say: “It looks kind of small, maybe don’t need one.”

Surfer a: “Most of the guys out there need one but you probably don’t.”

I smile quickly and say: “If most of the guys need one, then I do too. I don’t want to be cocky.” Walking away I wonder how long that kind of modesty will last. Last week’s lesson is still fresh but will it withstand the erosion of time? Back at the vehicle, I manage to jury rig the leash. “Good enough for MacGyver.” I say to myself.

The paddle out: EZ. I find a nice spot just to the right of a group of guys with no one on my right. And then I hear the sound of water pouring on water, turn and see a big dolphin slipping out of the water. His skin is white and grey and glistens in the lazy sunshine. He’s only 10 feet away from me. Comes directly towards me and dives under. I smile a bit nervously and feel sort of abashed and blessed somehow. The other surfers smile nervously and the one nearest me says: “That was close.”

“That was a big one. So beautiful.” I respond calmly even though I can feel the core of my stomach turn involuntarily. I can’t help but feel welcomed back into the ocean. The dolphins want me out here. One day, I shall bring my didj and the dolphins will come and show me a new way to play it. A new way to breathe and a new way to sing. Yeahh, one day, I shall bring my didj and thank the dolphins for their beauty. They will come and show me a new way to think a new way to feel a new way to sink a new way to be. Here come some dolphins riding waves catching fish singing and playing. Hey, Daydream believer! Oh, sorry… where was I? 5 seconds later, the dolphin popped up again within10 feet of another baldheaded surfer before disappearing for the duration of this surfing experience.

I managed to catch several fun waves before riding one into shore.
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