Originally posted on May 4, 2016 ElephantWords.co.uk
It begins with anticipation. There is a subtle feeling that builds in your stomach but cannot be specifically defined. There is an anxiety, a need, a longing for freedom, to be carried shoreward. Yet you are still on land. You step into the water and paddle against nature but not to defy her, to join her. You continue until you find yourself in a vast expanse of ocean on all sides.
Then you wait, focused on the horizon but aware of your surroundings. You are unplugged, prepared for all of your thoughts, and completely hinged. Everything on shore, all of your surroundings, melt away.
The anticipation turns to hope, or for some, arrogance. You want to stand or know you will. You want every wave to be the ultimate ride. There’s a need to capture the ecstatic beauty you feel each time but can barely define. Every wave is different and, therefore, every ride is different. And then you see the ripple under the horizon. You watch patiently as the wave swells towards you, knowing when to turn toward land. The anticipation, hope, arrogance build and you paddle. You find the strength to match the waters speed and keep pace with the wave. You have to catch it as it passes without being left behind.
There is a moment when your anxiety and desire turn to an insanity. It builds and crests with the wave. You catch the wave and your mind lets go. You work harder than you ever have, fully engaged, to hold onto that ride. Falling is the enemy. But you aren’t thinking about the mechanics. Your mind is free, flooded with endorphins. You’ve been captured by the euphoric disbelief of what you have done. Standing on the water, you glide forward.
And finally the arrogance. You feel that you have conquered but also convened with nature. But you have not. Nature is too vast to know you were there. She has continued on without you. You stole a ride in but she won’t carry you back out.
There is a greed that follows. You have to own that feeling again. You turn back and continue until you have nothing left to give. In your mind, there’s an agreement. You will give everything in exchange for that ride, even if the ocean laughs at your demands. A subtle reminder of that freedom will never leave you. It remains in the corners of your mind where you can’t reach it. It will call to you. You want to go again and you will.