If It’s the Journey, and not the Destination, then…

FIRST, and I’ll be removing this later, but, to terrorist/cowards everywhere, who chose soft targets rather than any battlefield, who consider themselves martyrs when they are murderers who create martyrs; there is no glory in this; there is no reward waiting, there is no God anywhere (and if you, as I, believe there is but one God, is that God not the God of all children?) who would condone massacre, the killing of the innocent and unarmed. And to those who incite and promote violence: Your hatred and fear are consuming you; the flesh is already rotting from your bones. May this only hasten, destroying you rather than infecting others. May God extend peace, wisdom, and mercy to the many. And True Justice. I wrote this to vent after the attacks in Paris; but it applies in way too many places around the world. Always has.

This is a photo taken on a recent day when Tom Burns did a lot of driving and never got to ride a wave.

OlympicsFromElwhaTBurns

He took this while on a long walk with Doug Charles. “Kindred spirits talking story” is how he described the visit.  If your search for waves takes you to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you probably know who Doug is. He’s “Uncle” Doug to many, the guy who tells you “you’re really not supposed to be here” to others.  If you do surf, you are a guest.

Respect given is respect returned.

Hey, I’m not all enlightened. Far from it. My inner motto, in the water, is “I’m here to surf.” We can get into the sociopath-ic-ness of that another time.

I’ve been trying to include the journey, the there and back, the interactions with other surfers, even with non-surfers, as part of my surf sessions. This is not a natural or easy thing for me. If I were a fisherman, I’d be inclined to only count the time as ‘fishing’ when I was reeling something in. When there are lulls between waves, I’m more prone to sharking, paddling left and right, than patiently waiting. Even if I chat with some other searcher, I’ll most likely be checking my lineup, looking for indicators, trying to make sure that, when the set comes, I’m in position (that is, a better position than others in the water). More likely, I’ll go for some of those inside waves and hope I’m not on one when the set arrives. I’ve only sort of given up on counting my waves. Sort of.

I’ve also been trying to come up with a phrase that might crystallize the experience for surfers in a place that is so rare; the fickle, imperfect, wild, access-so-frequently-denied, beautiful, frustrating secret coast. I haven’t been successful, but now claim ownership of “Keep it Strait.” It was a throwaway line in an reply (to one of my usual overly prosaic emails) from Drew Kampion, the man who penned “Always Summer on the Inside” for O’Neill Wetsuits (with the image, made quite an impression on the 16 year old me) and the now-and-for-years cliche’, “Corduroy to the horizon.”  I’m saving his email saying I can have it, but, all respect, Drew.

It’s tempting to add, “If you can’t keep it secret… keep it Strait.”

It’s semi-related to the North Shore expression, “Keep the Country Country.” I do include all the negatives in thinking of how to illustrate this. Those are all part of the journey. The journey is part of the session. As in all things, working on it.

DISCLAIMER AND ALERT- Immediately after I read the RANT section to my wife, Trish, with the intention of deleting it from the post (she asked why, if I meant it, should I delete it; so… maybe later), while checking my e-mails (and all this was immediately after the Seahawks lost the Sunday night game), I discovered I had a comment pending. It was from Foamclimb (probably not a given name- self-given, maybe). “Could read a bit homophobic, no? How about ‘Sometimes better than Lake Michigan?'” It just didn’t compute. Was he saying something about the RANT?

Maybe I was delirious from the defeat and the ‘knock-em-out’ pills Trish had given me for the headcold I’d exacerbated by surfing two days in a row; whatever; it was when I woke up (sort of, not actually fully awake yet- this is how those pills work) that I realized it was about “Keeping it Strait.”

OH, SURE. NO; never gave a thought to how that might sound to, you know, surfers who might not be heterosexual. AND, OH, maybe (referencing an earlier usage of ‘straight,’ as in not drunk or stoned) surfers who might be stoned or drunk or otherwise drug-influenced (like me on the nighttime cold pills) may also take offense.  We can’t have that. No.  AND, when I thought it might be good to add, “If you can’t keep it secret…” GEEZ. NO.

SO, let me say I did not mean anything mean, or to demean anyone except those who do not respect and appreciate the rare gift we are sometimes given of a few cold sliders. AND, when I say a few cold sliders, I’m talking about waves and really can’t imagine any other twisted usage of the phrase. It’ not like I said, “a few long straight tubes” or…

WAIT; In going through a few wave descriptions that could (maybe) be construed as sexual, and not wanting to be too crass, I’m thinking back to the artwork by a guy in San Diego who managed apartments for my brother-in-law. His stuff was definitely not in any way PHALLIC. Quite the opposite. So, I asked him what the opposite would be. “VAGINAL,” he said, with a straight face. “Uh huh,” I said, “vaginal.”

OKAY, THEN; I may not ever progress farther with “Keeping it Strait.” I’d give it back to Drew Kampion, but, once he sees how negative it can be, he may not want it.

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