Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas!

(Art by Mike stonefish Rilea)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Pass Through

It's seductively easy to create a small world around yourself during a surf. To see the approaching peak as the sole thing of importance, a steepened wall as paper to write on. The angle giving the scrawl whatever penmanship you might possess, white ink flowing behind for mere seconds and then gone. We had pulled up to an empty beach, passed one long timer driving home a few miles from here, his grin visible through a windshield defrosting, this visit to a random was a good call.........

The board floats up against the cedar log in a little lagoon of sand surrounded by cobble stones rustling with each wave that brings the high tide surge.  Flipped over, rail check no dents and back out. Only Ding out on the peak sitting in green gray water brushed clean with light off-shores, he angle paddles from behind the wave's center and drops into a long left.

From under the cliff base the paddle into the peak is a smooth drift. It's a typical north-west winter day, rain in the hills hanging in white sheets against green trees and the clear cuts. In the those clearings elk wander, some maybe right above us in the trees above the ocean. I have seen black tail deer run straight across volcanic remainders into perfect A-frames to escape a surfdog, it's head the sole evidence for disbelieving eyes as it  swam out to sea. I never saw it scale the cliff getting out but it looked completely confident that the sea served as viable escape route, local knowledge I guess.
From those cliffs the rivers can be seen as they drain mountain rains and snow into the sea and through those passes in the earth swim large salmon destined to lay eggs in  gravel beds. The same gravel that lines this corner came down those streams eons ago, time. As we paddle west they swim east into the hills, tomorrow we will be in driftboats looking for them in the pools and riffles under willow and spruce trees.

Ding and I trade chest high gems in a repeat of a surf session from months ago,  same place, same conditions, same crowd.It's a busy world under us and above, but the waves are all we focus on. It's quiet here, the highway far back tucked into the bay as a little woodsmoke wafts into the waves. The sun comes out and the rights now are an eye blistering takeoff into the glare.

Late in the afternoon we drive back over the third world roads of T'mook county, the truck like a Spitfire avoiding the bone rattles of potholes, the lane lines now only suggestions not direction specific. These soft hills are still moving under us and the local roads  are reminders of that.