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.

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7 thoughts on “Getting wet.

  1. Hi ya Paul,
    If I am ever down there while you are home I will give it a try with you. Did Todd leave any wet suits that might fit me? When I first moved to California I lived for years in Carmel and tried California surfing. I surfed from age 11 until I got to California at age 20. I loved it and it was a source of great comfort to me through my adolescence and young adulthood. When I got to California I would surf in Southern California where the water was warmer, but Northern California,,, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pacific Grove, were so cold for me that the water paralyzed me. Todd implored me incessantly to come down and kayak and surf with you both… I told him Great Whites and ice water made surfing less enjoyable for me and I think I still feel that way… but if you’re game I will give a try for Todd…. brrrrrrr. I am really glad you’re writing Paul. I keep remembering what a great pal your brother was… Maybe we can fly kites when you come up here again to visit?
    Todd was always a maniac… We loved flying kites… I would put a kite up and be deeply content to feel the tug on the string. Of course my maniac pal would amp up and want to do Kite Runner antics… he would run back and forth on the ridge trying to get our kites to do battle… while I screamed “stop it you fucking maniac! !” Finally I told him I wouldn’t go kiting unless he let me fly my way and he could fly his. Next outing he had a stunt kite that he could entangle on his own…LOL. I will miss your brother always, thank you Paul for your presence.

    • we will find you a wetsuit to fit you and that will be some todd power when his two pauls are in the water with him! my hands have been killing me from hauling the board in and out, so i’m getting closer to todd in that way too. come to think of it, so many of his activities could add pain to his extremities. keep it coming.

  2. Thanks Paul. Loved this. Wish I could join you–always wanted to learn how to surf but only dabbled. I want to ask how your doing, but have a good idea, so it seems an annoying thing to ask. Please know that we love you and are thinking about you daily. We’ll come down for a visit when baby is ready to roll. Love to Amee and Bodhi too.

  3. Hey Paul-
    I’ve found your writing very powerful and sense that it helps your healing process. I think picking up surfing is a great gift from your bro. It’s helped me personally through many tough times and keeps you healthy both mentally and physically. I’ll paddle out with you any time we could hook it up! I’ve been surfing for 25 years now and could give you some pointers that might help. I gotta warn you though, it gets under your skin and the next thing you know you’ll “need” it! Email me if you want to hook up a session!
    Love,
    Mark

  4. paul, haunting post. i remember after the picnic you said it was the first time in a long time you had felt really alive again. i wish i had known how recent this loss was so i could have given you a high five or something, instead of just my normal smile. be well and keep in touch… dawn.

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