The Board

I’m sitting here, sitting on this sand. Feeling each grain in my hands, blood sand, I always seem to find it everywhere. I smirk as I remember running my hands through my hair the other day and found these individual grains intertwined within my hair – blood sand. It is mid afternoon, I can’t really tell where I am but I know I feel happy. Happy near the ocean, my beloved board next to me. Now let me tell you about my board. I know it may sound strange to talk about a board but well its become part of me now. I’ve ridden a couple of different boards before – I remember my very first. It was huge, foam, three times the size of me . I remember lying on that thing in the middle of the ocean and feeling connected instantly. I remember sitting on that board, amongst others in the sun, the water clear and blue, reflecting the beautiful sun’s rays. I remember taking a deep breath and looking around, and we individuals were all connected, on different sizes of boards, but connected. I remember sitting there, knowing and feeling that my life was about to change. That’s all I needed, to be able to sit and realize in that moment my life would never be the same again. I outgrew that board thought and found myself trying out different sizes, shapes, colours, all because I was changing, I was catching better waves, felt a little less scared with each paddle out. I didn’t always catch all those waves, at times it was frustrating, making me question my own abilities and at times making me want to give up but it only took one wave on my board that would change my mind again.

So this is where I am now, sitting on the sand. I have a little board now that I’ve been travelling with and we’ve been on some great adventures. My first ride with my board I was really unsure. Its sleek shape, lightness and heightmade me question my current abilities. I remember thinking ‘ Wow, this is going to be hard’ But as soon as I paddled out, I knew it would keep me safe, keep me balanced and would also be with me when I caught or failed the next wave. So I am sitting on the sand, next to my beloeved board, I’ve already had my morning session, no barrels but doing drops and beginning to turn. I look around – some people are starting to paddle out for the afternoon set. I feel the sun on my now darkened skin. I run my hands over my board, lightly touching the dents I’ve already created , remembering and smiling to myself how each dent was made, a mark, an etch to remind me of where I;ve been and what risks I took. I stand up and look around – I always seem to misplace my rashie – but I find it hidden under the sand – bloody sand. I shake it off and put it on – a second skin. I retie my hair , already matted and dry from being in the water – its turning gold now. I pick up my board and strap my leash on. I like that feeling – safe, secure, around my ankle, an extension of who I am. I take a deep breath and look up towards the heavens – the skky is clear, I take a moment to think of all the places I’ve been, people I’ve met, feel an inner peace and gratitude for my life. I feel the sun again, beckoning me to comply and play. I look towards the horizon, beyond the sea, as if I’m trying to reach the ends of the world, of this earth. It’s become a ritual now I realise as I start to run towards the ocean.

I begin to paddle, not a far paddle, but I feel each stroke, my beloved board underneath me, carrying me to where I feel most at peace and balanced. I feel the water all around me, through me, always healing , life giving. I smile  again. I reach the line up and give a little nod to the few who’ve come out. I sit on my board and look around. Peace, out here in there water, there is peace. We sit quietly and I feel the vibrations of the world, of life through the air, I feel the sun again, illuminating the horizon, lighting up the ocean like fireworks on a dark night. In this moment I feel truly blessed. Then I feel it, a surge and my trance is broken. The waves are coming. I feel an excitment in my stomach. I paddle out first. I spin my board around and I it behind me, the rush. The pulsating rise of mother nature lifting me and I smile, I can tell its going to be a big one and I ready myself – my mind is blank and in that instance I become nothing and something all at once. I am connected to  my body, my insides matching my outsides. I take the warrior stance. I smile..but then..the surge pushes me too fast and with a furious push I fall and I am tumbling. I feel my board slip from me, the tug of the leash but this time its different. I am trembling, whirling, caught and my leash is tangled around my other leg. I keep tumbling – in my head I think ‘ Don’t panic – just let it throw you around, just hold your breathe and it will be ok’ . In what feels like an eternity I think of these thoughts, just to hold on, to let the leash where it lay, but with each pull I felt it tighter on me, almost drowning me, so I stop pulling on my leg. I think in this moment of my board – of the dents, of how less then a couple of hours ago I was running my hands over it , smiling, remembering. I feel the leash tug me under more and in that instance I begin to remember all the memories I created with my board, I am holding my breath yet I never felt so full of life.

Then suddenly, nothing. I stop tumbling, I feel the leash loosen and my leg free, I take the chance and swim up towards that nourishing sunlight and finally open my eyes and take a deep breath. I look around and snap back to reality – i instinctively tug on my leash and my board returns, not broken but with dents. I catch a wave to shore.

I am back on the sand now – I stop and look around. No one seems to notice my ordeal but I am breathless and still blank. I look to the sky – nothing. I look to the horizon, nothing. I close my eyes and my mind reconnects to me again. I feel the sand under my feet again, bloody sand. I look at my board and I realise I’m still attached to that leash. Something that’s so helpful, supportive and safe almost drowned me, yet it still kept me with my beloved board. I touch the leash, it feels different somehow, it feels stratched out, almost broken. I feel the cuff, it doesnt look like it will fit me anymore. It will have a different memory for me now. I am conflicted – i Look out into the horizon again. Should I cut it off in case it does it again, or do I give it another chance. I sit down again – if I had a knife would I have cut it? Without hesitation I know that I would have cut it off because it was drowning me.

I smile at this thought and start to feel the sun again, the life, my board.

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