I had a revelation today. I experienced the ocean with my son for the first time. I mean really experienced it like I like to experience it. Not from the water’s edge with my feet planted on the sand and the waves lapping at my ankles. But like I remember discovering the ocean-over the tops of wave crests and under the crash of the foam.
My revelation is that I am starting to see myself back in that world again-sooner than expected. I have had no expectations for Merrik’s bond with the sea but hoped that if I didn’t push it too much he would naturally choose to love it-just for the sake of familiarity. Our lives revolve around the sea and the hopes to someday soon sail the ocean blue but you can’t force your child to love something that you want.
In the morning we headed out to Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor where we spent a couple of hours practicing paddling and standing on a surfboard. I got a great workout pushing him fast through the water then chasing after him in waist deep resistance and then paddling around with him.
Then in the afternoon, I saw excitement in his face just as I remember when I was about his age. That thrill of floating up and over the “huge” swells and looking down the face of the wave as you reach the crest. When I did it at 4 I am sure the waves were the same size as today-1-3 feet-but the feeling is the same as when I go over a 6-8 foot crest now-exhilaration.
At first I was hesitant to take him out. It was high tide and the waves were shore breaking. He was so confident and adamant about going out far that I couldn’t resist. At first we just went out for a swim-past the shore breakers and rocky bottom to where neither one of us could touch. When the sets came rolling through he did fantastic. I am sure mostly it was being naive to the dangers but Merrik is not one to venture into things blindly. We talked about rip currents, never turning your back to the waves and watching the shore to stay aware of your drift.
Then we took the Boogie board out and we talked about never letting go of it, the face and shoulder of the waves and committing to ride one or deciding to turn and paddle up and over it as fast as you can before it pitches you over the falls.
I have the taste of surfing in my mouth again. At least I know that getting into the depths of the ocean is upon me. I am so goddamn sick of standing on the beach with just my toes getting wet! I may as well have been living by a lake.