Made it to the ocean, the pacific this time. There is a west north west swell that is arriving today, growing in the afternoon. The gods are favoring me. Needless to say, my surf skills are not quite honed right now, having not surfed for over a year. I caught three waves, and I lost track of how many waves caught me. The surf was double overhead as measured from the front of the wave, but the periodicity was very manageable. The surf is supposed to continue to build throughout the day, so I will make another effort, but this time with my short board closer to the jetty at Ocean Beach. Definitely easier to get out with the short board, being able to duck under the crashing waves. As long as I get one good wave every time that I go out, it is a good session. There is a certain sense of spirituality in surfing that not everybody understands. I enjoy sitting and watching the pelicans roam the curling crests as much as I enjoy the feeling of being taken down the face of the wave by the energy of the wind carried molecule by molecule over the vast distances of the pacific ocean only to meet the shore and go vertical; or the feeling of the water moving under your feet as the big swells approach. I got out just after first light, and kept the session under two hours. From past experience going from no surfing to surfing every day, it is better to ease into the rhythm of the ocean.
The weekend prior to this was the reunion with all of my San Diego navy friends, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more. I was referring to the weekend as a port call, either Pheonix or Tucson, as we changed cities mid reunion; referring to the atmosphere that we recreated from so many different stops on the USS Ronald Reagan. For port call Phoenix we all stayed at the Mariott at Tempe Buttes, which was perhaps one of the most extravagant hotels that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying, rivaled only by what I saw in Cancun, Mexico. I slept in my truck, since my budget is not even close to on par with the others. There were various pools connected within a compound that was built over a rock outcropping in the middle of the city. We swam, we drank, we drank some more. Not too far off from the hotel life in singapore, thailand, south korea, or dubai. It had been many years since I met up with many of them, and the atmosphere was intense throughout. We talked of old stories and shared many of the new life experiences that we had enjoyed since our last meeting. Being in the nuclear field, all of them are very very smart. One had been doing seismic monitoring in Alaska over the summer, another had been doing some serious music editing for some high falutin artists, and still another was working to build and repair electron microscopes. I think it’s safe to say that they ill all have a seriously large difference in lifetime earnings than my own rebellious self. Talking with all of them does give me a push toward a “career” in the corporate world: I am constantly deterred from such a career by the way that we all live on the planet(rampantly using resources), and the fact that if I make more money than I do now, I will certainly join the masses in their drive to cut down every last tree. Will we make the same mistake as the Easter Islanders? During our time in Tucson we participated in the all souls procession, a sort of remembrance of those that have passed in the last year: similar to the day of the dead in the Mexican tradition. We all painted our faces and one of the group brought a giant paper mache raven head, which was especially appropriate giving the role of the bird in the tales of the native americans. It was a powerful experience for myself, since my grandpa had passed not too long ago. We all were able to write notes to those that had passed, and the urns into which they were deposited were all lifted by a crane and burned, giving the message the flight that it needs to reach the other realms. The Buddhists believe in bardo stages, where a soul can linger, sometimes for several months. My message to my grandfather was in the bhuddist spirit: it included guidance and a reminder of our love for him. My eyes tear now as they did many times throughout the procession. Some of the most powerful moments were when you saw a sign and a family of a loved one that was lost way before his/her time. You could see the anguish in the faces of the “survived” that continue to walk the earth with their memories of loved ones lost. One deep connection that I had was with a woman in the line for the cajun food truck who had lost her husband “eighty-two days ago”. I gave her a long hug and we chatted for the duration of waiting in line: it was powerful. The whole event was an excellent reminder that we should cherish every moment. Walking a few miles with your face painted as a skull is a great way to get in touch with your own mortality.
Muddy has been enjoying the constant travel and excitement, though I have had to put him in the truck a few times, which upsets his anxious personality. With all the driving that we have been doing I think he must be sleeping for fifteen hours a day, including the evenings. There were some particularly exciting views between the indian reservation south of the Utah border, and around Globe, AZ. Surprisingly impressed by Arizona; not one of those states that I had given credence to such a grandiose landscape. All the potatoes, carrots, and onions that I dug just prior to departure are providing an excellent supplement to the food that I need to buy, and fit well into my budget plan. I woke up yesterday in the Sonoran de sert among saguaro cactus and ubiquitous creosote. The twelve hours of rest was well needed after such a weekend, and the potatoes and carrots that I had for a casually late breakfast were all that I needed for the long journey to San Diego which lied ahead. The colony of ants nearby were happy I stopped in. I captured a picture of one of them laboring to remove a piece of onion and a few granules of rice. We should all take the time more often to appreciate the small stuff.
Oh, and I woke to the Donald Trump presidency: This should be interesting. If there is a way to collapse the whole system faster, I can’t think of it.