by ANNE BATTY
Most kids sleep in, especially in the summer time, if they have that luxury. Not so for surfers.
When my three sons were growing up, they would be on the beach early. I spent many a morning’s sunrise, standing atop the pier, coffee cup in hand, watching them mount the waves below.
While reveling in that quiet dawning, my mind was free to ponder the surfer’s endless quest to conquer nature; a clan-like quest, one with unwritten tenets and a lingo all its own.
For my sons it was a pursuit begun each day in the dark before dawning. Waking sans alarms, they donned yesterday’s clothing. With a quick pause at the fridge to sip milk from the carton and mumble under-breath, “there’s never anything in this house to eat,” they were off. Scooping up wetsuits, boards and towels, grabbing skateboards or bikes, they disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Joining their surfing brotherhood on the beach, they exchanged few words. Using hand-slaps, signs and nods to greet one another, they paused onshore, straining to read and interpret the water’s signs. And in unison with those bobbing astride their boards offshore, they gazed unflinchingly ocean-ward, combining their wills and invoking the seas to belch forth the swells they so patiently awaited.
I spent many a morning’s sunrise, standing atop the pier, coffee cup in hand, watching them mount the waves below.
My youngest son once remarked that we humans were a tribal people, gathering in groups to form tribal rituals and establish languages of our own. Observing this spectacle daily, I have come to understand what he meant. Like seems to attract like, creating principles to abide by along the way.
Residing in a beach town I have sometimes heard disparaging remarks directed toward surfers and the surfing lifestyle. As a mother of surfers, I certainly don’t picture things that way. Although there may be good and bad in every situation, there is great danger in categorizing, and I am always astounded by the ignorance of such remarks.
As for me … if I could turn back time, I would be that stay-at-home mom once again, joining other beach-dwelling moms to watch our children perform their fascinating dance upon the waters. And as a beach bum at heart, (if I weren’t such a chicken, anticipating the dreaded wipeout), I probably would have joined those clansmen answering the call of the surf.
Benjamin Franklin, founding father, inventor and author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” opined that one should be … “early to bed, early to rise.” Like Benjamin, it’s always been my nature to be an early riser.
Now that they are grown, I continue rising early, lingering contentedly on the pier, coffee cup in hand, continuing to be touched by the wonder of it all.
ANNE BATTY is a freelance editor/writer residing in California. Visit her blog at awriterrambles.com.