Imagine yourself on a hot, sunny day walking barefoot through the sand, feeling it sifting softly beneath your feet. From afar, your walk seems leisurely, but it's actually a walk of anticipation, of excitement, and of a daring demeanor. Your hair gets caught in the warm summer breeze and billows gracefully about your face, which carries your smile and your shining eyes. Your head lifts. You hear it now and your heart begins to pound furiously within your chest.
The ocean. It's vast and endless, like a very good dream that you don't ever want to end. Its body rises and falls as if it is a living being, breathing and thriving. Its waves crash gently against the shore, reaching for your sun-tanned toes, and then retreating in defeat. The sun admires itself in its reflection on the water's surface, dancing and glimmering in its glory. The ocean roars, but it also whispers, gently calling you and luring you to its edge, begging you to partake in its rolling cool waters.
You can't help but be intrigued by its offer and you step forward to accept it. Not only is it an offerand a fair one, at thatbut it is also a challenge, for the ocean is mighty and strong. Its strength could bury you beneath its water or carry you swiftly and deliberately back to the safety of the shore. But this does not frighten you. You and the ocean have long been friends and are well-acquainted with each other. Each knows the other's strengths and weaknesses, even if you would never take advantage of either of them. Riding the waves of the ocean is a privilege, something earned over time, and like learning to trust the horse that allows you on its back, so one must learn to trust the ocean.
You take in the light, salty air in a deep inhale and allow the familiar scents of the beach to invigorate and inspire you. You wade confidently into the water, shivering with its sharp coolness against your body, and lay your board calmly on the surface. You spread yourself out on the board's sleek top; you and the board now are one and the same, facing the ocean together. You paddle in deep, long strokes towards the intimidating waves that continue to beckon you and an almost savage smile graces your lips. You search for the perfect wave like a predator searches for its prey.
Then you see it. It's there, coming towards you, demanding that you take its challenge and see if you're willing enough to dare try and conquer it. You turn your face away, pretending you don't have any agenda with this beast, but still ready yourself for the impact. When the moment presents itself, you pop yourself up on your board, maintaining a steady balance that will support you through the ride. You and the wave collide and start the odd, complex dance that you have memorized after so many years. The wave does not change its hostile behavior nor does it change direction; it is a raging bull, charging fiercely for the shore, and nothing is going to sway it. It's too late for you to turn back now.
You feel the mist of the ocean spray against your face. You hear nothing but the bellowing of the water beneath your feet and you focus on nothing but the thrill of defying gravity and the ocean. You feel free, unleashed, and empowered as you and the ocean reunite in an ancient ritual that one elsesave those on good terms with the oceancould possibly begin to fathom or to possibly understand. Since the ocean is unchanging, you must follow its terms and move your body with its smooth motions.
The wave calms and releases you unharmed to the shallow waters. As quickly as it starts, it ends. You feel almost disheartened and disappointed that the ride is over so soon. You glance longingly over your shoulder, wishing for that wave to return and continue the fun. The sun is still high in the sky and the day is not nearly finished; there is much more to be accomplished and a lot more fun to be had. You sit up on your board, the water keeping you adrift, and it nudges you playfully as you watch others find their destined waves to ride. The wind no longer has any effect on your once lively hair, for the ocean has drenched it while you were occupied.
Your eyes scan the horizon carefully and studiously, not giving up so easily. You have conquered one wave, but there are still plenty more that encourage you to continue on. Then like an answer to a prayer, that wave you've been pining after gestures to you in welcome, inviting you much like the first one had. The process begins again; freedom is just around the bend.
The day passes and the beach-dwellers start to dissipate one by one. The sun is commencing to hide its face beneath the water and it has painted the sky a beautiful combination of scarlet red and dark orange with hints of daisy yellow. You sit on the shore with surfboard lodged in the sand beside you as you silently bid farewell to your old friend, not desiring to leave it behind, but knowing deep down that it's inevitable. Another adventure will simply have to wait until another day.
There would always be another day. For surfers, the ride never ends and the waves never falter or wither away. There's always another day, another wave, another ride. Once one adventure ends, another starts, with surfers coming back for more.