Yesterday we awoke to a world newly washed and muddy and green, a downright iridescent green at times. It was truly dazzling, although brisk and windy, an invigorating in-your-face kind of day that grabbed me and said, “Snap out of it!” So I’ve snapped out of it and jumped in, and I feel privileged to be here. I will not obsess about whether or not I am worthy.
Meanwhile, the surf has been big. So big, in fact, and so erratic, that a few of the more savvy and seasoned old surfers chose to sit it out and watch. As one of them wrote in an email to Monte: “I was feeling liberated that I was man enough to not paddle out on some of those larger days. I am okay as I am, and I do not need to prove myself. But then [I admit] there was a nagging little tinge of sadness that I wimped out!”
His tinge of sadness evaporated when he heard about various mishaps, among surfers both expert and novice, including one that could have easily ended in tragedy. “There are definitely days when we watch and then go home and write a poem,” he concluded.
That’s how I feel about life lately, and maybe it’s just good sense that comes with age. I am being affirmative, staying active, and paying attention, but I realize that it’s also lovely just to sit indoors sometimes and see how sunlight enters, to write to a friend or listen to music and watch the kaleidoscopic world through a window…or to wander through the pages of a book.
Speaking of books, this week I read two good ones: The Past by Tessa Hadley and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. The first is a finely crafted tale of family dynamics set in the English countryside, so well depicted that it transported me there. As for the latter, grab a tissue and prepare to be deeply moved. It is a brave and sad and loving book in which a truly gifted man facing his own horribly premature death tries eloquently to make sense and find meaning for himself and for those who will read this. His light shines on its pages.
I shall close this brief post with a quote he shared from a letter written to him by a friend: “…There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in the moment.”