A stand up paddle board makes a fine dinghy for a small trimaran and sets you loose on mother ocean propelled only by your muscles and your mind. It is a wonderful thing, this paddling.
The seal surfaces three feet from my paddle board and eyes me like a love-sick Labrador. Curious, she circles me once, dives and swims under the board. I can still see her in the clear cold water ten feet down. A bald eagle chitters in the top of a Douglas fir behind me. A grey-green swell foams, tumbles and rolls along the rocky shore. Fog drifts through the tree tops, the gentle wind blesses my cheek and the ocean breathes the tide into Bowman Bay. The seal surfaces thirty feet away, rolls on her back and looks me over – her Selkie eyes misty and brown.
We vibrate together this ocean, seal, eagle and me; a deep holy vibration.
I stand up on the board and paddle out. The muscular overnight swell is starting to lay down, but it reflects off the rocky cliffs and creates a sloppy cross sea outside the bay. I dig the paddle deep and move fast, but have trouble keeping my feet in the chunky water and drop to my knees, still paddling. The board is a wonder, easily driven and slicing through the steeper waves without complaint or bad habit. We are new to each other, and I need her to trust me. Working below the cliffs, alternately on my feet or on my knees in the left over dying slop, we bond, and earn each other’s respect.
We play the water together; vibrating.
Maybe vibration is not the right word…perhaps hum…tone…OM even. Let me explain.
I once stood on the edge of a cliff deep in Southern Utah, far away from the clatter and clang of the mechanical world – in silence so complete and profound, it was ear-splitting. It was the tone underlying all creation, all reality, and all now. It was the tone of the future crashing into the present sliding into the past. It was the voice of the mountains, the song of the ocean, and the shimmer of the desert. It was the sound of vastness.
This is the vibration I feel on my board.
I paddle outside where a sub-surface rock disturbs the swells. They break and snarl and foam around it. Sometimes two swells converge from either side, collide and jet water 6 feet in the air. I sit on the board and watch the ocean flow and chuff, broken and weltering around the unyielding quartzite. Kelp fronds surround the little whirlpool and surge with the swells. The rock creates a playful back eddy that sucks me toward it. It pulls me in, I paddle away – it pulls me back. We do this over and over again. I am fascinated by this little aqua-system. Rock, water and kelp dance to the tune played by the dynamic wind, wave and tide. Selkie’s head pops up on the far side of the whorl and she gives me another long lingering look before flashing her tail at me in a flirty dive.
The ocean is sub-conscious made physical. It is vast, powerful and infinite. It heaves with the surge of immense distant storms and winds; tides and currents. The water under my board pounded Japan two weeks ago, sighed onto the perfect beaches of the Bahamas two years ago, froze into Antarctic ice six years ago, and roared unhindered around the great Capes of the Southern Ocean 100 years ago. It is inscrutable, majestic, immortal…it is the source.
The board and I are the dream, the illusion, temporal. We skitter and skim over the surface tossed and turned by waves and swells. I feel the water transmit its force through the board, to my feet, up my legs and back. As long as I don’t think about it, balance comes easily. The moment I try to command balance, it deserts me and I stagger. The board and I are borne by the water, yet separate from it. We are the ocean’s chattering mind floating over its powerful, immense, sub-conscious.
I was on a rock outcrop overlooking the ocean a few days ago. The view from there is stunning – mountains and ocean and islands, blue and grey and green. Tide lines etch the water as the ocean follows the moon where she pulls. I was thirsty and bent over a small pool of clear, clean water near a seep in the rock. The pool was still as a mirror and reflected the blue sky above.
I didn’t want to disturb the pool with my hand and planked to put my mouth to it and sip directly. My reflection rose up out of the pool with pursed lips. Startled, I sucked a mouthful of water, looked myself in the eye, and kissed my reflection. It was weird to see myself as my girlfriend sees me, lips all puckered up, nose to nose, and it was not attractive at all. But at the same time, I realized the reflection was also the pool coming to kiss me. With that slurp, I kissed myself and the pool kissed me, and we were one and the same. It was profound! I lifted to my knees, took in the fabulous view and softly said…..fuck me.
Listen now, this is important.
You are made of hope, love and wild stardust. You are not separate from the wild, you are the wild. Rejoice and be wild! Let your ears be split by silence. Let your eyes blaze with distance. Taste rain. Watch the stars wheel and the miraculous sun rise. Gulp your lungs full of clean, fresh air. Let your heart pump hard and free. Find any wild located near you and dive in. Get dirty, wet, sweaty, feel your legs shake, your arms tire, your spirit soar. Lay on your back in the grass and see the most beautiful sky ever. Haul your sheets in, feel the wind pull, the sea part and let er rip. Do this every day.
Go to the wild for solace, peace and joy. Go for refuge from man-made hype and blather. Give in to the wonder and awe you feel there. Go dance with the divine, and discover it is you.