Sunday, September 4, 2011


There is a sea in the sky, and the earthbound forests wave in the currents like the kelp beds to the lee of Anacapa Island. Almost daily, gusting winds lay the golden wattle grass flat on the windward side of the island where several goats, sure footed on the steep cliffs, munch their way through the vegetation. Rare golden eagles languidly bum rides with the off shore air currents, hungrily watching to see what fauna the goats flush from the flora below. The immense fetch of the Pacific endlessly rolls grinder waves past the Channel Islands towards the California mainland.

My young man is somewhere north by north-east of me, a distance of about thirty miles and over a hundred and twenty miles from his home port of Dana Point, California. He sits atop his spoon-billed Augustine, his legs dangling in the brine, looking over his shoulder. He hears from the ocean behind, the rush of a mountain of water and expertly grasps the rails pushing his complete body flat onto the board, paddling furiously to get up to speed for the wave coming from behind. The lift begins, ever so suitable, signaling him to push up onto his feet; now he and his board rides a curved shaped express platform. He slides his feet forward; getting out front on his board and hanging ten. Totally tubular, he is momentarily in another world. The shore comes up fast and he calculates the perfect timing just as he approaches the beach, his skegs now unloaded of all their torque, and leaps from the surf board into the shallow swirl of sand and seawater. He snatches the eleven foot board up under his arm in one fluid motion, walking with his unique gait towards his spread beach towel. He expertly examines for damage the board’s high-aspect raked skegs, and then plants the Augustine stern first into the soft sand … where it postures like an Easter Island monolith. He has always been graceful – in all aspects of living. 

No one knows where I am, although there was an exhaustive search. Nowadays I can see forever; there are no longer any limitations on my sight. I however prefer to remain on Anacapa, where the blue Pacific chose to deposit me. Certainly, I would very much rather he know, but the code prohibits me contacting him. There is a note of discord in his life – that I can sense; it’s my “vanishing”, as the newspapers and authorities always describe events for which they have no explanation. Also I sense too, that he has come to accept our separation, knowing, I’m certain, that its duration will pass like his sets of waves.

There is no mystery. Simply, on that moonless night watch, I jumped into the small tender being towed behind his sailboat, something I had done many times, but never in the dark. A rogue wave came running up behind us and flipped the rubber dinghy. I barked several times, all the while my young master thought I was below deck – hearing and suspecting nothing. Much later I washed up, becoming tightly wedged, in a rocky outcrop; twisted, and wrapped mummy like, in large stalks of brown kelp. We, my young master and I, will sail together again, I’m “dog-gone” certain of it.

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