The day I realized I was mortal…

surfing sunset

A moody morning in Autumn.

A body pulsing with anticipation.

A cyclone swell.

The invincibility of youth

A voice crackles over the radio with words of warning, but it’s too late.  I climb into my soggy wetsuit – a limp skin that’s still icy from the kiss of night. The roar of surf greets me; sea spray glows crimson red with the rising sun yet the waves themselves are still black featureless walls. They taunt me as they pitch forth from the horizon, spidery silhouetted bodies drawing lines on their faces.

Unattainable goals.

I’m 15 and I have no idea what I’m doing.

My arms windmill as I face the line-up. Ahead of me, waves rise like three-story buildings and I prepare for them to crumple me and cast me aside without second thought. I’m bobbing like a boat in a storm. Lightening cracks as the waves split the water ahead and I hear deep voices a bass profundo.

“Paddle or you will die.”

A pastor kneels on the sands in prayer as we get tossed around in a wild sea. Birds circle, an ominous sign. We pitch and roll on an open sea being faced with the mortality of our situation. Learning respect for mother nature is a lesson learned once and learned proper. I salute you.

Maketu, Autumn 2004.

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