worldnosurffor camday 99
sat out in the bay and shot around myself - click to enlarge
WSD (world surf day) 99, I sat at the PC and watched the gloom of a wintry day, invade
the solace of the night. I looked over the mail and the NGs (news groups), but didn't
have the heart to check the buoys. I wouldn't be surfing that day or any
day soon, and for that matter, I've done precious little surfing this
winter. Compare less than a dozen surfing trips in the last year, with
25 to 30 the year before, and 50 or 60 the year previous to that one. It
tells the tale of my, and my province's financial decline. Now I have to
say, my family is doing better than many. My wife has a government job
with benefits, but we simply have no recreation budget, and replacing
broken non-essentials (like my van) is beyond our means. Couple this
with some teenager family episodes that left my household reeling, and
it's enough to get a guy feeling down.
With little hope to surf regularly, I have slipped away from any sort of
a regular exercise regime and into a state of hibernation. WSD shone in
my eyes, ever more brightly as it approached, and finally it had arrived,
full on and in my face.
A light rain patterned the ocean that morning, and I lit the wood stove
to warm the house before the family stirred. I decided if it was a no-
surf day, I would at least get on the water for a paddle. I started to
warm up with a stretch, that made me feel like a workout. Straightening
out the weight room was enough for me, but I did a single light set. I
kept looking out on our saltwater bay. The wind was picking up and the
rain got stronger. Sometimes I look out on that bay, and it shouts at me
like one of my childhood friends "get out here Scott" but today there
was only the patter of rain on the skylight. I decided to blow off WSD
and build some shelves for the old lady (60s cult lingo for significant
other of the female persuasion). Sending in a paddling report for WSD
seemed to be a little on the hurtin side. I guess I didn't feel much
like a surfer and the ocean wasn't speaking to me.
I thought about WSD all day as I worked. My outlook pissed me off. I
thought about a report full of reasons why not ....... strike that .....
excuses why I was not surfing today. I tore all the bullshit apart like
I would do for the kids if they were stuck in a funk. The issue ceased
to be "why I was not surfing". It was foolishness. Family first is the
commitment. The issue focused. "Why am I imitating a slug?" It got my
juices flowing. When I finished the shelves I went for a long walk with
the dog and came home and wrote.
The sun beat me out of bed today. I lay thinking about yesterday as I
woke up. The shelves worked out great and I felt good about that. The
workout yesterday was perfect, enough of an overall ache to let me know
how far gone my conditioning is, but not enough to give me an excuse to
convalesce on the couch (a harmless item of furniture before the advent
of TV). My stiff muscles from the exercise felt good, even satisfying.
I started writing something yesterday. It's the first thing since
teenage drama sucked the life out of us a year ago. That felt downright
exhilarating. I bounced out of bed, into my wetsuit and down to the
ocean for a paddle on morning glass.
A strong wind blows from the northwest and I paddle into a foot of chop.
Good windsurfing day but I also like paddling in these conditions. The
wind winds up my energy level and drowns out the sounds of human society
on the surrounding shorelines. The tide is low and as my finger-tips
brush the bottom, I am happy to be wearing gloves. The shells and bottom
litter would slash them to ribbons. I paddle over oyster and clam beds.
With the tidal range around here the bay out front can be nearly 20'
deep or high and dry.
Leo Limberis's oyster crew - house above the barge is my target when I paddle
I've been walking, working out, and paddling daily since WSD. Buggered
my back and missed one day, but it's the most consistent exercise I've
had since last fall. It feels great, physically and mentally. I sit on
my longboard and pause in the middle of the bay and scrutinise the clear
cuts on the surrounding mountains. A few new bald patches grow and the
old replanted areas begin to blend into the surrounding forests. This
area is all second and third cut. Very little ancient forests around
here. Most of the area was burned 200 years ago. I wonder how my first
nations neighbours (Stz˙minus) would be spending this day if Europeans
had not stumbled upon this place. I think how amazing it is, that a
diverse collection of folks, scattered around the planet, can reach into
my home on a daily basis. Without trying, the alt.surfing crew can pry
me from my sedentary hibernation and out onto the water.
My construction worn back needs exercise to keep me pain free and my
spirit needs the ocean to cleanse it, mend it, and make it whole. I
begin to doubt that the ocean has ever stopped talking to me. I think I
just stopped listening to her.
I am drawn to the edge of the abyss, to peer over the edge and into the
void. I crave the silence of transcendence. I can roll a mantra over in
my mind until it and all thought disappears from my consciousness. I can
go out on the water and find silence, but my dreams are filled with
moments when all disappears but me on my board, and that massive fluid
animation of almighty power cradling me in the curls of it's face, and the
time when I transcend my normal life, reach out my hand and caress the
great architect's brow.
I feel much better