Paddling through the troughs to deserve the light
Paddling out I put myself back into the stage of when I was a beginner and didn't expect waves and tried to stay out of everyone's way, There were more weasel than usual taking more waves than they should not waiting their turn, taking off behind you after you were up to drive you out of the wave etc. There's no point in getting into it with them. I was out there for four days in a row, and surfed the spot for almost thirty years (A few breaks in between due to cancer and getting burnt out by the first dot-com burst of algae in the sea) and I didn't see anyone I used to surf with--just 30 to 40 percent Costco boards, and wave catchers not surfers for the most part "taking" their share of waves. But I thought why should this be fair? It's like life now. Adjust within it. Don't let them draw you into anger and confrontation because it usually doesn't matter to them, and I don't want to get to know them anyway.
So I pull out of a few waves because I still haven;t regained my leg agility to make sharp turns in a crowd and I don't want to hurt anyone, and I become bored by competing against them when they're snaking. I never see any of them talk to anyone or have friends in the water--unless they are with a group just like them.
But I keep paddling through troughs and in between waves, the same way I hit the open mikes and showcases working on material; after all, the work on local stages led to a national movie and getting on a billboard i Times Square. It was surfing through the ocean, learning to stand-up for what was my wave when it was mine, and getting humbled and beat by the ocean that shaped me and made the best of me possible. And I have to protect that from life's takers who win easy too often, but don't know the score.
The muscles in my chest had a great ache, my legs are getting stronger, my head was floating with ideas for tonight. I needed help carrying my board up the steps because I'm afraid to lose my balance, but I keep paddling, and I keep stepping on the stage, and trying to broaden the hope rejection can't reach, because if it does, it fries from the heat.
Surfing gave me that and solid friendships.
These people just have selfies, clubs, a number of waves, and recreation.
I look at the ocean, sitting on a rock in the sandy cove at the surf spot, shivering and weak but my heart forming a fist of strength to strive--to strive like all the inspiring heroes I have ever admired. Surfing saved me from cancer, gave me that extra edge, so amid the swarm and the judgments and uncertainty, I keep reaching, working to reach the next...the next...fulfilling triumph for others and myself in a world that rises above accomplishments.
I say to the unknown darkness that wants to throw shade. Your shadows will not take me or anyone who shouts from the safety of their cheap seats and sniper's nest trying to tell me otherwise. I can't hear you.