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It’s hard to write about waves without sounding all New Agey or surfer-spiritual: “Hey, man, waves are God’s way of saying ‘I’m here; all you need to do in tune in to me; find the right spot, catch me, and become one with me. It’s so far out!” Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this is just the way I’m about to sound.
The photo shows Napili Bay this morning when the surf was kind of up. I took it from our balcony as I was trying to decide whether it was more important to meditate for an hour and try to catch the Cosmic Inner Wave of Consciousness or head out to the beach and catch some outer waves. I chose the wave less traveled, the inner wave, and that made all the difference. Meaning, by the time I got to the beach the surf was down, and I spent most of my time on the boogie board looking wistfully out to sea, watching for the big waves that weren’t coming.
After a few hours I went back to our room for some lunch. And it was déjà vu all over again. Eating on our balcony I saw nice waves coming into the rocky (at low tide, but it was high tide) corner of the bay just off the sandy spit (where the people mentioned in yesterday’s posting got married). Fellow boogiers were out there riding the waves almost all the way in to the beach. I had just eaten. I was tired, after staying up late last night trying to figure out how to slowly dial “9” on my modem so I could connect to AT&Ts Maui local number from our room.
So what? Waves wait for no man. Seize the wave. Live for the wave of the moment, for tomorrow may be calm. All kinds of platitudes echoed in my mind, each calling me to apply the wave warrior’s warpaint, SPF 30 sunscreen (Coppertone Sport is my recommendation—waterproof and long-lasting), grab my board and fins (if you wear regular snorkel fins, like I do, use some ankle holders that keep the fins from drifting away when they fall off, which they will, in heavy surf).
As soon as I paddled out I knew I had made the right decision. A nice wave. Hit the sweet spot. Rode it in almost all the way to the beach (tip: avoid the temptation to make it “totally all the way” if you don’t like lots of sand in your bathing suit and looking like a fool as you flip upside down on the beach when the wave makes a final “kerploosh.” Turned around and paddled back. Caught quite a few more waves. Joy. Joy. Joy.
What is it above waves that makes them so enjoyable? Well, of the four primordial elements we’ve got here on our planet—earth, air, fire, water—water is the only one that (1) moves around while (2) supporting you. Earth is nice and supportive, but it doesn’t change, except in earthquakes, avalanches and such, and you wish you weren’t on it then. Air and fire are moving all the time, but you can’t rest on them, get close to them, commune all warm and fuzzy with them. However, water, the womb liquid where we all began life (both individually and, scientists say, probably collectively), is both friendly and free, embracing us while it fluidly flows over, around, and (I’ve experienced this after being thrashed by a breaking big wave) through us.
Little gentle waves are so calming. Air mattresses bobbing on ripples in the calm part of Napili Bay. Large crashing waves are so exciting. Boogie boarders trying to hit the curl in the churny part of Napili Bay. Like life itself, on the water you can choose what turns you on, what makes you feel “AhhhhhhYessssssss.”
Laurel likes the water smooth and clear. She is an avid snorkeler. What lies under the water isn’t visible when waves churn up the bottom. I like the water rough. I enjoy the rush of being part of something that is bigger than me, does what it does completely independent of me, and is a bit dangerous (not hugely—it’s the earth, the coral and rocks under the surface, that you have to watch out for more than the waves).
Here’s the surfer/boarder spirituality: it’s all about flow. The ocean waves are ever-changing—direction, intensity, timing. You have to learn how to flow with them to catch a good wave. A “school” of boogie-boarders often looks like a real school of fish, everybody moving more or less in unison, a group wave-consciousness grokking where the next Big One is going to break.
If you’ve flowed in tune with the ocean and reached the sweet spot at the sweet time, you catch it. Ideally, effortlessly. Usually, it takes some effort, kicking or paddling, to have the wave catch you up. Then, the wave does almost all the work. You hang on for the ride. Until it’s over. But there’s always another wave. Just not always when you want it, Or where you want it. Which offers the opportunity to hang loose and accept what the ocean, which isn’t separate from life, gives you. Flow. It’s all about flow.