Rain or shine . . .

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It was definitely a great idea to go through with the camping trip. Rain and a bit spooky at first, but a lot of liberation with the effort and the feeling of the open road.  We stopped at Greyhound Rock and I saw some lone fishermen casting into the stormy ocean.  I thought of Todd who spent many days doing just that and had finally broken what he called “The Godwin Fishing Curse”, catching quite a few in the last few years.   Spoke to a man with a young boy and he mentioned an abalone farm near Davenport.   A few minutes later we passed a sign they were selling to the public from 10-2 on Saturdays and we got in under the wire. Amee expertly prepared my first taste of abalone, it was amazing.  It rained throughout the night but we were cozy in the trailer. Todd was definitely with us in spirit, he loved camping with us. We read aloud from Thurber (thanks Seth) to Bodhi’s shrieking laughter, those stories always his favorite.  I told Bodhi that from here on we weren’t wasting any opportunities, for tomorrow never knows.   Today we found a mysterious, historic cemetery in Santa Cruz and ended the day at Bean Hollow, our favorite beach on this coast.  No surfing at all due to stormy conditions, but there’s always the Jetty to look forward to.  Shanti was a constant companion, mellowing with age. Thank you world, plenty more in store.

p.s. stopped at The Herb Room, Sta. Cruz, really great place, they gave me some kava for my nerves and I’m liking its calming effect.

Todd would go.

I realize I was artificially buoyed by the amazing fine weather we had earlier this week.  Well, I’m grateful that got me going. But now that the foggy gray has returned, its harder to motivate.  We even booked a campsite in Sta. Cruz for tonight, I figured I’d get Amee and Bodhi in the water where it was a degree or two warmer.  Now the forecast there is 57 high and 70% rain, but we have the little trailer.  I’m thinking, just keep moving forward, one foot then the other, I know I’ll be down if I stay hiding in here.  So we’re off.  Report later.

Todd would go.

His hands, my hands?

And another thing.  Last night brought me excruciating pain in my hands.  Sound familiar? That was one of Todd’s adjectives.  He worked with big four-plus syllable words frequently, hyperbolic, attention-getting, inarguable words.  flabbergasted was another one.  So I was flabbergasted at the excruciating pain in my hands last night.  I tried arnica, Tiger Balm, Aspercreme, heat, cold, Tylenol PM, Ambien and finally found some Advil Plus, which finally combined up and got me to sleep.

Not before wondering seriously if I’d been possessed.  I’d recently begun to realize how much I was like him, or how much his routines, bits, complaints, were peppering my experience and banter.  But now it started to really get weird.  Examples:

I was on the phone all the time during the day.  Long hours talking to my nephew, Bob, old friends like Thom, my sister, my niece, my sister-in-law, anyone who would call really and plenty whom I would call.  I usually eschewed the phone entirely.
Next, I was walking more duck footed (say no more).  Next, decidedly due to my recent loss, but nonetheless, I was weeping openly, and sometimes in public, unavoidable perhaps, but still . . . not usual.    And as mentioned, I was attacking nature and gear with hapless abandon (very Todd).    These would have been suspect enough, but last night I began to have other thoughts. Darker turnings as I did not sleep.  Painkillers colliding and creating disturbing visions.   Was I actually possessed?

Did some of his oblivion enter me when I handled the ashes?  Is this why other family had been speaking to him, or having bizarre and love-affirming strange occurrences, but I was not.  Perhaps he was not appearing to me because he had come inside from the cold. Or maybe I’d just been carrying that heavy long board too much.

Fairweather surfers

Remember, it was older brother types that got me even close to the water in the first place.  after Todd’s many attempts, we were in Hawaii in December and met an extraordinary family.   The Haydens from Bend, Oregon were the combination of an open and big-hearted dad, an intelligent and dedicated mom, and a crazy little guy whom Bodhi immediately took too.  We were the only ones sharing an amazing sunset day at Hanalei Bay, just lolling about in the ‘big swimming pool’ by the pier, aglory in the thick colors and soft silky warm* water (70+ degrees).   Katie had a long board and was paddling around, Loren was watching Keanu and Bodhi and smiling this huge unavoidable smile.  By the next day, Loren had us up on the long board and beach bound on long easy rides.  Amee, a total natural.

But it took this tragedy and this spate of incredible summer (winter) weather to get me off my butt around here.  And my good friend Doug Nolan, patiently pushing me into the white water yesterday.  Both he and Loren are actually younger than me, but they are taller, so that counts.  Now it threatens to ‘close out’, weather wise and I predict that might get me hiding again, avoiding the steel gray cold and licking my wounds at home.   We’ll see.  Redsky at morning, surfers are yawning?

Getting wet.

I took my first surf lesson this morning after Todd left me his long board.  Last week for the first time I donned a wetsuit and began splashing around in the 53 degree Pacific near my home.  I had never gone before, something about the cold, not being a great swimmer, all the pro looking surfers around . . .

But somehow after spilling some of Todd’s ashes into the ocean last week, it seemed fitting to get in there with him.   And I saw him.

There in the sparkling water, the billion beads of foamy white bubbles around me, the sunlight glinting, I could sense his oblivion, his part of oblivion.   Where do we go when our body turns to ashes?  And something else:  he had always been my buffer between the outgoing outrageous outdoors.  I had a brother who was surf kayaking, surfing, boogie boarding, scuba diving, so in some way, I didn’t need to.  He was always there ahead of me, urging me to come along, buying the gear, lots of gear, sometimes not the right gear, leftover gear, offering me gear, taking back the gear he’d given me, giving me new gear, frustrated for overspending on gear, not sure if he had the right gear.  It kind of bugged me. Sometimes I felt like, ‘just get in there and do it, who cares if you have the right gear!’  But now he’s not out there in front of me, or urging me to tag along.

So I’m going in by myself.  And taking Bodhi, Mia and anyone else who wants to join me. Let me know if you’re down this way and want to go.