THE LONELY SURFER
Alone he sat, sometimes waiting for the sun to rise, sometimes in the twilight of night. His favorite time to be on the ocean was evening, for he hated the night, the loneliness of darkness, and so alone he sat. on that calm sea, the sun fading behind him below the horizon, on a small board he sat that back in those days was still made of wood. waiting for the ocean to erupt into a massive, raging wave, that would be so demanding of his body and mind that he would have no time to feel alone or dread the night, but to ride it, ignore it ( not really an option,ignoring it) or perhaps to die.
But sometimes it was best when the ocean was calm, for it was then, he could hear the sound of his own mind, surfing the universe of thoughts, dreams, fears and the unknown. The ocean was and has always been to him, the personification of the unknown, especially at night . He would often wonder what swam just beneath his feet. Perhaps only a few small fish, a squid, a jelly fish, or maybe ?, something much more threatening, perhaps a shark ?, out for an evening meal. The ocean both scared him and intrigued him, made him come back again and again, especially at twilight. For as the night grew darker, the ocean, and its’ hidden mysteries grew deeper , and more daring, daring him to stay a minute longer, waiting, waiting to see, to see what anger awaited. To him it was life made solid, tangible, to be won or lost on a two minute ride.
At times he would intentionally go out on his board when he knew the tide was going out and the likelihood of any good waves, demanding to be ridden was remote. He did this because he wanted the calmness, he wanted the depths to talk to him, it was like being alone in his room late at night, when the rustle of leaves or a stray animal would make a sound outside his window, ah, but that he could explain. But this was the ocean, the endless unknown ocean, and he would hear sometimes, faintly, sometimes very near, the splash of sea life, a porpoise ? a fish ? a shark! ? or ?…. unlike the land, he felt there were no solid answers to the night sounds of the ocean. And that to him was like the mysteries of life, no solid answers. But as he sat there alone, it was almost like he could feel the lack of uncertainty, almost touch it, hold it, and in someway have some control over it. He could sink or swim, not a metaphor anymore, but a fact, if a wave came he could ride or fall, there was to a degree some control. He liked that.
But what about the actual surfing ? Well there is nothing like catching the big wave, riding the tunnel, hearing only the roar of the ocean, and again, alone, he against one of the mightiest forces God ever created, the ocean, and its’ waves. You will not control them, the best you can hope to do is ride them, and hopefully to the safety of the land. But at times they will take you under, spin you around like a piece of cloth in a giant washer and then slam your body against the bottom, sometimes knocking the breath out of you, and you know at that instant that in some small way you have come face to face with death. But you rise to the top and let the rest of the wave take you safely home.
Some believe we as humans crawled from the sea. I have no reason to doubt that, and no reason to doubt that it was not God’s plan for us to do so, for how many of us can truly say, no matter how far from the sea we may live, that in some way we are drawn to the ocean, a need to feel it, see it, and on some level understand it. Like coming home, it waits for us, just like it did for the lonely surfer.