I stir 30 minutes before my alarm screams, Rachel silently approves. Quiet mornings are at a premium for the surf-widow. All night I’ve been out of breath, dodging bombs, choosing spots. Every night at the canyonized beach-break, the canonized beach-break, feet still stinging from the long walk down the Goat Trail. Pupils stretched, searching for the weak spot on the face, the path of least resistance, anything to get out the back unscathed. But I’m awake now, alive now, the anticipation of the day has yanked the pull-string on my consciousness.
Feels as though I’ve hardly slept, like I was daydreaming and blinked only a moment before opening my eyes to A.M. darkness. My muscles are stiff and shoulders slump. Stumbling to the textiles of the bathroom, I’m pissing while brushing my teeth. No need for deodorant, the Ocean washes all things away. Breathing in through my nose I expand my lungs softly. Capacity is king. Ninja my way out the front door and into the dense salt blanket of air, southern California mornings rarely disappoint.
With most of the coast deep in slumber, the sounds of silence are eery. Years ago I’d be in slumber, rum induced dreamless slumber. I run across the boulevard and into 711. At the counter Charlie’s eyes look red, he must have been here all night. His eyes hardly dart away from his phone long enough for him to realize I’m no threat, just the guy who comes in on the weekends for a Cuba Lima and a couple of bananas. Hit the gas and I’m southbound.
Driving is automatic, I’m lost in the surf again. Streaks of white and red lights bring me back into the car while brief sensations of weightlessness drop me back into the line-up: I need to slow down. Thom hits the crescendo as I round Birmingham Drive. The boys’ living room light is on, a good sign. They come bouncing out the door rabid, stoke-riddled creatures. Their unkempt smiles give way to unadulterated Yews. Poor neighbors.
In the Kia, we are laughing and listening to Stocker’s description of the Harvest Buoy. It bobs fifteen feet every twenty-one seconds, the lure for amphibious hominids. The near empty lot will fill before the end of the hour and we clamber out of the car into the dust kicked up by our own tires. Before we don our rubberskin, we tread to the edge of the cliffs with the subtle hints of the sun peering out of the east. The sonic detonation of water-on-water rolls up the walls of the canyon to pound on our ear drums. Weeks of squinted eyes and juggling attention spans, pouring over pictograms from recent swells, sleepless nights, groggy drives, flashing lights into the sand with eyes on those bursts of storm energy translated into plunging motion.