Warm Cookies With A Whiskey Chaser

The Perfect Mix of Comfort and Shenanigans

Blogroll Me!
100 Things About Me
Tinmen Don't Dance
Humble Sandwich
A Son from Another Mother; Matt
Auburn Pisces
Splenda In The Grass
the bokey chronicles
Jeffrey Ricker
Rocket Man
The Beauty of All Things
No Milk Please
A Life In The Day
Shadow Footprints
Scott B Blog
Seth Hancock Photography
Famous Author Rob Byrnes
Watersea's Ocean Bloggie
Cheap Blue Guitar
Does This Mean I'm A Grownup?
Upside Down Hippo
Loose Ends

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ka Wai Ola - Living Water

I've spoken before of my deep and abiding affection for the sea. I call her "Mama". Everything about her is sacred to me. Charlie has often joked that I have saltwater running through my veins and sometimes, when I am not in the best of moods, the first thing he says to me is; "Do you need to go to the water?"

My son is definitely my son in this respect. I probably should have given him a Hawaiian name more closely connected to the ocean. He was the first of my children to have the same love and respect for the gifts of the sea, the first to soulfully connect with her, the first to want to surf with me, the first one whom I would have the most trouble getting out of the water at the end of the day.

He is still that one. But lately, I have noticed, and he has been honest to mention, that he has struggled with sadness and can't seem to shake it. Completely understandable given what's been going on in his life. When he told me yesterday that it had been MONTHS since he'd surfed or even been to the water, I was truthfully shocked. I hadn't really thought about that specifically. So much had been going on and we'd all been dealing with it as best we could. I should have seen it. I should have known. I should have been the one to say to him what Charlie says to me; "Have you been to see Mama?" He said; "I haven't really done much of any of the things I love to do. I've been pre-occupied. Now that Jeff is home, I'm feeling it. I need to go. Do you want to go to the beach with me tomorrow?" There is no other way to respond to that; "Yes, Grommet. I would love to."

So this morning, he went about the business of getting his gear together. It was beautiful and warm this morning, much to our surprise. Still, he gathered two rashies (rashguards); one long sleeve, one short sleeve, his full winter wetsuit, and two boards. He asked me to drive the van so that he could bring both boards. It had been a long time since we'd loaded my old van up with a quiver of boards. It made me smile. It was a familar comfort. A few towels, a gallon jug full of fresh water, and a change of clothes for after session, and we were on our way.

The beach was packed because shockingly, especially for this area of beach (known to locals as "Blackie's"), there were actually some nice waves forming. Bryson was a bit taken aback by how busy it was. "Crap. With that lineup, I probably won't have a chance of catching anything." "Well," I said. "Do I feed the parking meter, or not?" He jumps out of the van and says; "Yep. Feed it. I'm going." I nod. I wouldn't have let him not go. I would have kicked him out and told him to get his cute okole out there. I'm happy he decided on his own. I dig in the ashtray for quarters which are always there, and hop out to drop them into the meter. We're set for an hour. I grab my camera while Bry does the wetsuit wiggle behind the van, and I start walking down to the water.

This is where "Old Guys Rule". The locals call this area Blackie's because it's just in front of a landmark divey little bar of the same name. You could say that you were surfing at Newport Pier and people would know. But the old guys (including me) always call it Blackie's. You'd hear; "Hey, I'm going to Dawn Patrol at Blackie's. Wanna go?"

By the time we got there, most of those old guys were already done surfing, had changed into their sweatshirts and Uggs and were sitting on the breakwall drinking coffee and watching the younger guys go out. It was still cranking. Photographers with their telephoto lenses were standing on the wall, trying to get good wave shots. I was only interested in one subject. He was slowly making his way down to the water. He stopped about 25 feet from the shoreline, sat down, and just watched for a bit. Then, with great purpose, he picked up his trusty, beat up favorite fish. A surfboard that he lovingly calls "Troop", because it's been through "epic" adventures with him, and it's falling apart. The fiberglass on the fishtail end is basically non-existent and he's pretty much surfing on unglassed foam. Yet he has countless stories hooked to that board and he could care less if it's falling apart. He says he will use Troop until Troop is just a lump of foam. So, he and Troop work their way into the lineup. I watched and waited and felt the presence of peace.

He might have walked into the water a bit down. But I know I have to give credit to his hopeful spirit. Because sure enough, the young man that came out of the water an hour later was renewed. His face carried a smile so big that I could see every pearly tooth. "How was it?"

"Well," he said; "It was so packed out that I could only catch two rides the whole time I was out. But, it was awesome. The water was warm and nice. I ran into friends and we just sat out there and talked. It was awesome. I'm good. Thanks for coming."

"No Grommie. Thanks for asking me."

Then he said; "Let's go see Jeff. I wanna tell him about it. Maybe by Friday, he'll be strong enough to leave the house and I think it will do him some good to get to the beach. I'll drive him there."

I nodded. I can't think of a better way to finish off this perfect morning. I took a quick look back at Mama and quietly thanked her from my heart. That living water does its magic again. Sometimes nothing is better than going to the place that you know renews your soul.