One More Day

by

Then six days off.

I celebrated the near epoch holiday time off with an early morning surf session with my dear friend.

Who true to his word, texted me at 6:32 a.m.

Oof.

My alarm had gone off at 6:30a.m.

I went to bed around 12:30a.m.

Six hours.

Not horrible.

Oh, I could have easily slept longer and when I swiped off the alarm on my phone I thought, I will just lie here a second, just a moment.

Then the text.

His arrival time was due at 7a.m.

Trouble Coffee.

Ok.

Up, out, and moving.

I got washed, pulled out my wetsuit from the closet, grabbed a towel, pulled my hair up into a bun, slapped on some sunblock, and pulled on a swim suit, yoga pants, and a hoodie.

By the time my bed was made and I had done my morning routine and reading practise it was just shy of 7a.m.

I walked up to Trouble.

Which had this apt little sign in front of the cafe:

Shred

Shred

As I was taking the photo of the sign my friend pulled up in his car with the boards strapped on top.

“Just getting to Trouble,” he texted.

And I am already there.

We hugged, then ducked in the warm cinnamon toast scented cafe and hugged Julietta, the owner of the cafe.

We talked about open ocean swimming, she and I have been trying to get out schedules down so that we can go out together for a swim, sans wetsuit, at China Beach.

She introduced us to a woman who does a lot of swimming, has even gone so far as to go out swimming with a small group out around the Farallon Islands.

Which sounded like a horror movie to me.

I cannot imagine.

From the seasickness of boating out there to the shark infested waters.

The Great Whites feed out there, seals all fresh for the snatching.

After that enlightening conversation and my friend asking if I had checked out the Jaws video he shared with me I was more than ready for the shot of caffeine placed in front of me at the polished wood bar.

One Gibraltar later, two shots of espresso topped with gently warmed milk, I was ready to get the show on the road, or into the water, as the case may be.

We popped over to my place and I clambered into my wetsuit.

I think clamber is the proper adjective here.

That or shimmy.

But my clumsy self was clambering.

I did succesfully get in and realized I had lost a little wieght since I had bought it, which was something I suspected, but was not sure of.

Despite the slight roomier area in the tush, it was perfect across my shoulders and I just hitched the crotch up a bit and was in.

We got down to the beach, parked across from the Beach Chalet in between the two windmills and talked about surfing.

He pointed out the swells, which were small, about two foot, maybe three, and how to paddle in, turn, pop up, and turtling the board through a big wave.

I was nervous, excited, and eager.

So about 1/3 of what he was saying may have made it into my brain, probably less.

I stood surveying the ocean in front of me, my heart so full and my body so alive, I felt a sense of serenity that doesn’t always come to me that deeply.

I can see why people get addicted to it.

I can see it in myself.

Surf's Up

Surveying the Sea

My friend snapped this shot of me from behind as I inhaled the clean ocean breeze and felt the warm sun on my back rising behind me.

There were already quite a few folks out in the water and more pulling in.

The weather astoundingly clear, no fog, light breeze.

Yes, the swells were small, but that was just fine for me.

I got out past the break!

Last time I went out I was unable to get out of the rough and got smashed around a lot.

I took to it a lot better this time, as I said, the sea was far more gentle, but I also felt a little more secure in what was happening.

I paddled better.

I figured out where the spot on the board is that I need to keep my head aligned with to not pearl in the water.

My friend taught me how to sit on the board and turn around on it.

I could not do that the first time we went out.

I was so pleased.

I was pleased as punch.

The windmills, the sun, the other surfers quietly bobbing in the waves.

Snatches of conversations, “the swells are not coming in well here, let’s hop in the car and head down to Sloat.”

The paddle boarders out.

The water was cold, but I did not mind.

Even my bare feet were ok.

Yup.

I got in barefoot.

I may not always, but I was really ok with it.

Although by the time we got out I was feeling like I was walking on stiff wood blocks rather than feet.

My hands were colder than I realized as well, and yes my shoulder was a little sore, but not bad, I also took ibuprofen and I kept my strokes far shorter than before.

Which actually helped.

I realized I had to adjust my arm stroke for maximum efficacy and that the stroke I was used to using in the pool when I swim is far different then the stroke I need to use to maneuver a surf board.

I fell off.

I got wet.

I also dove straight through a wave.

I got over the swells, past the break point, sat on my board, and then my friend pointed out the dolphins.

Dolphins!

And they swam past me.

They were so close.

I was just astounded.

I was paying such attention to them that I didn’t even realize I was drifting.

“Carmelita!”  My friend shouted, “watch the beach, you’re drifting!”

Holy shit.

It wasn’t much, but I had not noticed and I was getting further out then I really needed to be.

I paddled in.

Grateful to be with a friend who could shake me out of my reverie.

But really.

Dolphins!

Right there.

“I wish I had a camera in the water,” he said later, “you looked so beautiful sitting out in the water on the board with the porpoises jumping around you.”

I felt beautiful.

How could I not?

Looking at the goofy photos I took when I was back on land I can see it shining out of every pore in my skin.

I was alive.

Cold.

Worn out.

But so exhilarated.

And with one day of work to go and my friends long board now in my housemates garage, I have some ideas what I might be doing in the very near future.

Until then a mellow night to unwind and have a little more hot tea, maybe another ibuprofen dose and some stretches.

My smile muscle, though, is the one that hurts the most.

Hurts so bad.

Yet it feels so good.

 

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2 Responses to “One More Day”

  1. Matt Miller Says:

    This is fucking awesome. Seriously. I am smiling ear to ear right now.

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