8 de octubre de 2012
I am close to the rocks. It is something I have accepted and I am no longer going to continue to struggle to try to get away from them on this surfboard. I simply do not have the strength. If I time it right, I can make it up on that little island thing. I mean, in The Guardian when Ashton Kutcher is leading a rescue with Kevin Costner as his assistant, they have to time the waves that are going to a cave; he said it was “simple physics.” Well, I got a 72 in physics in high school and barely passed the Regents exam for that class too, so I quickly give up on Hollywood and immediately revert my attention to the situation at hand. Okay, I am about ten feet away. I will let the next wave come and then once it has retreated, I’ve got to paddle as hard as I can to get to the rocks as fast as possible. It works. It actually works. A couple of supersmall scrapes on my leg are the only casualties to this still not finished dangerous situation. There is a six-foot channel separating me from the mainland. Thankfully a local, and actually one of the surf instructors at the hotel we are staying at for the day, has come to Justin’s and my rescue. While he is in the water getting Justin out of harm’s way, I pitch camp on this rocky coral formation for a couple of minutes. Soon enough, the original guy and one other employee have come to help me off this rock formation. I am not going to lie, that scared me. Surfing is harder than it looks. After making it back to shore and taking a breath, I choose to just work on surfing the small waves not far from shore.
That experience of possibly having gotten seriously hurt was a wake-up call. It reminded something that I have known for a very long time: nature is powerful and it demands respect. Well, I do not know that I disrespected nature, but I surely felt that surfing would be easy for me; I bit off much more than I could chew.
As a child, I was very fortunate to grow up on bodies of water: pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, and the occasional visit to the ocean. I grew up waterskiing, kneeboarding, tubing, jet skiing, kayaking, and swimming. I have always loved the water, and always will. My parents instilled in both my brother and I, a respect for nature. Not only to respect it through the manner in which we act while we are in nature, but also its sheer power. I may not believe in God, but I surely believe in the higher power of Mother Nature. As my friend Petra writes, “The only gods I believed in were the snow gods.” For me, nature is my God. I was humbled once again this morning when I was at the mercy of the waves. Last week, our group made a trip to the beach for a day of relaxation, just as some of us did today. Before last week, I had only swum in the Pacific once, and even then it was only for an hour or so. The Pacific, however, is powerful. The currents seem as if they only want to pull you out to sea. Today, we battled strong currents as well as large surf. It was also surf that was not very conducive to surfing. The waves crashed all at once, and came from many different directions. For a first experience, it was good, but eye-opening.
Respect for nature is something that I strongly believe in. If you have ever spent time in the mountains, you know that the weather can change very quickly. One minute it could be a beautiful sunny day on the ski hill, and five minutes later, it could be clouding up and become a white-out. Nature is a power greater than myself, and much, much stronger. Coexistence is necessary and harmony is a must. To act humble in the face of nature is an obligation. Just as I did today, thinking that I would simply be able to paddle out and catch a wave, was nonsensical for me to do.