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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Surfing Was Great

I have returned! We are back from vacation in the land of fruits and nuts--tanned, a little broken, sore, wiser, and full of sights, sounds, and smells.

We visited with family and traveled down memory lane to the places my husband once called home. He pointed out the changes time had wrought--some of them sweeping, some not so large.

My own goal was to commune with the waves, and I did. The ocean fills me with peace, mostly. Seeing the light shining through the green-tinged waves, watching the silt glint as the roller passed, waiting for the next big swell to lift me on it's shoulder, the icy embrace of the crashing, thundering salt--it all was medicine to my soul.

The denizens of the sea flashed past us as we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium: delicate bejeweled jellies, coasting hulks of tuna and shark, forests of undulating kelp, fey sea horses, spritely puffins. I could have spent several more hours cruising the rooms, but we closed the place out and went on down the Big Sur.

I got a pebble from Pebble Beach. We found sand dollars at Morro Bay. We saw beaches full of basking, bedraggled elephant seals in their catastrophic moulting season. We explored tide pools, scampering over rocks and through fly-blown heaps of steaming seaweed. My Hubs slipped on a rocking boulder and probably broke or cracked some ribs. He is still in agony when he turns wrong or coughs.

This time the ocean was up against some stiff odds. Little annoyances, like urchins, crept in and chipped away at my well-being. I won't enumerate them here, but they left me questioning myself and my abilities. I have no answers yet.

Luckily the ocean had help from some extremely large entities with needles for leaves. The Sequoias' massive girth stretched up from the guts of the world, pulling the sun into their gargantuan tunnelsomeness, dwarfing us once again. Moro Rock let us look clear out to the end of the world where the air gets thin and misty.

Half Dome and El Capitan dwarfed us as well. They and Bridle Veil Falls put me firmly in my place, to my chagrin. It wasn't a comfortable spot to be, showing me my finite nature and limitations, despite wishing I had my pre-ballet (Or is it the fighting that did it?) knees back and could still climb well.

At San Simeon I found a pebble beach one morning, with the mist lifting off it. The sea-washed pebbles glittered in the rising sun, reminding me that I, too, was once like them: rough and plain at first. The crashing surf had pounded them, knocked the sharp edges off and polished them into smooth, elegant beauties. I just need to be able to endure the process without being turned into sand.

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