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Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

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Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Wilbur Kookmeyer » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:22 pm

I saw a ghost once. Well, actually I believe I have seen them more than once, however at least this one time I can tell you with a straight face that I in fact saw a ghost. And more importantly, no matter how you try to reason it away, I will never believe anything else. The other instances may be argued as there are quite possibly more than one explanation for their 'appearance' I suppose.

After all, I am not completely unreasonable.

My latest experience with the paranormal was not so 'para' as it was normal, but it was unusual none the less.

Having arrived at Indian at a little after 6:00 am or so, the parking lot was mostly empty. In fact there was only one other vehicle in the lot and it did not look surfish at all I suppose. I pulled into the first spot, over by the table, and got out with a warm cup of coffee and a bit of a shiver in the early damp air. Fog was rolling about on the outside and the swell, what little there was, was pretty much crashing quickly on the minus low tide. There was not a soul in the water, or so I thought.

I watched for a while and had a smoke as I sipped the dank stuff from within the stained mug. I sat there feeling uneasy about it all. I have not been in the water in around 2 years. I glanced back over to the truck where the Con laid lazily in the bed as sheets of fog began to filter in .

I walked back to the truck, deposited the stained mug on the floor mat and picked up the Nikon.

As I headed down to the beach I took note of the wooden steps and paused as I had not really remembered there being any wooden steps on the trail down to the beach and I wondered just how long they have been there. I strolled to the beach and began to walk out, way out, to where the sand was meeting the business end of energy that was generated in some fetch far offshore.

A flock of seagulls (no...not that one) stood mostly defiant to my approach. A few scattered here and there and some flew and landed again. Others scampered about. Light filtered in between the sheets of fog and provided some interesting lighting for the few hundred frames I would fire off of the gulls, tide pools, rocks, and waves.

Photographing waves from the beach without a telescopic lens never works out as well as one romanticizes about in the moment.

The fog thickened as I explored the exposed rock faces and tide pools. Small creatures scattered about in each of the pools, and small lines of white water would occasionally push into the rocks and pools. Two crows sat staunchly atop a rock well over head and semi-ride-able waves broke in the exposed cove to the outside of those rocks.

Somewhere in the fog, the damp air, the dance of the gulls, or the soft crashing of waves, an apparition appeared or at least made itself known to me. I did not really see it, however as staunchly as I would defend having seen the one I will certainly defend having felt or known it.

And I did know it.

It was me. Or moreover, was me.

I retreated the to the safety of the picnic table and stained cup above. I sat there as more fog whispered in and swirled about as it obliterated my view of what surf there might have been. In the fog these ghosts cackled and called to me like lost boys. I half expected Keifer to come to me through the fog only with my face and fangs. But he didn't.

The cackles and calls tortured me as I sat there. I was reminded of what surfing had been, what I always wanted it to be, and sadly, what it wasn't, for me. The people, places, waves, beaches, rocks, boards, bikinis, wetsuits, Christmas lights, and damp air haunted my heart. I felt remorseful for what I have done with this surfing thing and for what I had done to those I had known in ad around it. If surfing could manifest itself into a creature it would have come at me dragging chains through that fog.

I was suddenly afraid of not only my past or my future, but of surfing. Or maybe, afraid of losing what surfing had been to me...or maybe even more...fearful of having already lost what it had been to me.

My head was spinning, my heart was pounding, my soul was awash in loss, and the waves were obliterated in fog.

I climbed back into the truck and headed into Cannon Beach to see and old friend. We chatted a while and I could tell that he could sense my wariness. Many times there was this strange silence as we stood there staring at each other. Then again, people are strange when you're a stranger right? So who knows.

I left there and sought solace in a chocolate milk and some ding dongs. As I attempted to wash away my sins in a baptism of chocolate, I found myself back on that winding road through the fog and back to the empty parking lot and picnic table.

A more surfish looking crew pulled in, glanced at me in my anguish, and walked down the steps. I sat there in my truck, chocolate dripping about my beard and decided to head south.

Maybe I will just photograph stuff down the coast and pull into PC with the board hanging out the back at least looking like I had been interested in looking for surf. I figured by the time I got there it would be too late and the waves would be crappy and I would not have to paddle out and...wait... 'have to paddle out'? 'Look like I was interested in looking for waves'?

What the f@#K was going on?
What have I been up too all of these years?
What had all of this become for me?

More to come later.......
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Doc » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:09 pm

Ghost of surfing present...
Get over it...
Surf some crappy windswell.

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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Tex » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:24 pm

Nice work Wilbur....great read. Be sure to write about that wave you catch which brings it all back for you.
Before the end of August would be good for you I think. I will be waiting for the next installment.
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby speelyei » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:28 pm

we should go for a surf wilb
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby bluesilver » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:40 pm

Sounds like you're writing about some long lost girlfreind. Maybe that Nikon of yours has become your substitution. Getting too old to surf? Take pictures of the surf instead! :D
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Wilbur Kookmeyer » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:04 pm

I should probably start a bit farther back, or at least allow a perspective of what the surfing thing has historically been to me.


That's pretty much it.

Sure it all starts out right and there is this infatuation stage and (spirit willing) learning and advancement which only serves as fuel for the beast that will come later.

Like any romance there is that wink, that tingle, that first kiss, followed shortly by sleepless nights, physical exhaustion and a complete depletion of your soul.

Twenty nine years ago I started this love affair, or...entered into this place...this...thing...and it consumed me. I found everything I ever wanted and everything I could possibly hate in this place. It shaped my spirit, my mind, my body. Back in a time where you could still distinguish my lat's from my love handles I had some of the most bitchin exaggerated lat's in most non-surfing groups I found myself in.

I left friendships, relationships, jobs, any sense of formal education, laying in wait...usually cursing me...and soon forgetting all about me.

Sure i didn't travel great distances or explore like i had always dreamed of, but i didn't need to. You could actually spend a lifetime studying the behaviour of a single wave breaking in a single set of conditions. I can't fathom what it would mean, or what kind of undertaking it would be do attempt to understand multiple waves breaking in a myriad of variables. I don;t think it is possible and those that fancy themselves as being this accomplished are surely boasting.

Or perhaps I am just more simple, or complex, than to entertain such a fancy.

This thing has influenced everything in my life since i was 14. Where I will and will not live. What kind of vehicles I would or would not own. I have angered bosses, wives, teachers, girlfriends, friends, and family members. I once left my nearly virginal girlfriend in my bed to get a taste of some crappy wind swell at the end of a long flat spell in southern Florida.

and if you are not aware, this thing makes each of us do insane things. We wear rubber suits, and swim out into undulating and cold water that is filled with God knows what kinds of creatures waiting to strip us of our flesh and mortal coils. We chase imaginary needs and wants up and down coastlines for days, weeks, months, and years at a time. We burn untold thousands of dollars in gas and leave even larger quantities of time in our path for what....? Five seconds of bliss that is not quite as blissful as we want it to be and only leaves us hungering for so much more?

Sure...tucked in the folds and recesses of burnt skin, tangled hair, sandy clothes, and wax-oozed rooftops are memories that are more precious to us than any gems or fables of lore. And we would not trade a moment of them for anything. but at what price?

We have paid for it with our lives, our breath, our blood, our tears, our skin, and our souls.

And it is after a two year hiatus that i find myself struggling to reconcile it. Force it to make sense. is this a fantasy i have been living? Is it even possibly freakin real? Is this who I am, or merely who i wanted to be?

My truck split the fog as i barreled south on this chocolate high, buzzing anxiety, twitchy leg...and a throbbing low somewhere deep in my heart.....

More later.
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Ceedog » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:18 pm

I think its obvious what you need... It doesn't make sense, like everything else you waste time and energy on in this life. At least the fringe benefits of surfing are more tangible than say shopping or talking about surfing on the web.

And it is after a two year hiatus that i find myself struggling to reconcile it. Force it to make sense. is this a fantasy i have been living? Is it even possibly freakin real? Is this who I am, or merely who i wanted to be?

A question many have probably asked themselves. I know I have, especially when life consumes my free time and the will to deal with BS consequences from going surfing. But a good session can wipe years of that nonsense away. Fugg it, just go surfing Bro.
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Re: Of ghosts and other muscle memories...

Postby Wilbur Kookmeyer » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:55 pm

the last installment....

As I ran from these haunting’s, chasing solace in the very lair of their birth I could not help but crack an ironic smile.

The fog split and revealed an angelic illumination of a familiar parking lot and I pulled in out of desperation more than any preconceived notion or understanding. I grabbed one of the many open slots and le the engine of the truck lay down its laborious torch and rest. God knows one of us should rest.

I got out gathered my back pack and 9’ 5” Con Super Ugly, locked up and left the truck to its own consideration. A couple of surfish looking fellows poured out of various vehicles making that unsure eye contact that has always seemed to be so present amongst unfamiliar surfers and sever familiar ones for that matter.

One fellow asked me about the conditions and tides. Seeing how I, like him, was headed in and still a vast distance from any sense of knowing anything of the sort I flatly told him…’should be good!’….

I made the half mile or so journey down the sheltered cove passing those familiar old growth giants and trickling creek. I dodged the inevitable pile of dog crap and remembered yet even more memories….

I paused at one of the breaks where the trail would lead to the camp ground, or where the camp ground used to be and I thought about the people I had known there. The nights I slept in this camp ground sharing beers and stories, exaggerations, and romances…

I remembered the nights of sleeping in cars in parking lots, driving all night to be paddling out in the predawn light.

My daughter is named after one such event. On of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Paddling towards a breaking wave that was backlit by a stunning sunrise. The clear wall of the wave was light up in an incredible amber color. Thus…Amber Ocean was such named.

As I found my way down to the cove I stopped at the over look and watched a few sets of smallish, but fun looking waves come through on the coming tide.

I made my way down the stairs and across the loose cobbles to the warming sand and loose dogs. Scattered wetsuits and pop-outs and of course the ever present short board laid warming in the sun while their owners and renters talked surf or other frivolous topics amidst the smoldering driftwood fires and beer cans.

I picked a spot around middle creek and suited up. Hoisting the Con on my shoulder I made my way to the water’s edge and began to walk out. The frothy, over-oxygenated water spun past my ankles, then my knees, then my thighs.

I dropped the con in the water and checked my leash and washed the sand from her deck.

A couple of small sets came through and I paddled out and right passed a small line up of what I was certain were undeserving kooks and wanna-be’s.

I would like to tell you that the first wave I turned on was some sort of miracle and it all suddenly made sense, but it was just another wave in an endless stream of waves. An indiscernible volume of energy bands and water. But even I cannot tell you that it afforded me a grand vision of life and love, I can tell you it certainly did not suck.

For the next few hours I surfed.
I paddled around.
I sat outside and picked waves off without concern or care for any one else.
I took.
Then I took some more.
I smiled.
I noticed other smiling.
I gave waves away.
I made fun and fluid turns.
I bailed and floundered.
I eventually went in.

Soon it was my wetsuit and board warming in the sun as I stood around a smoldering driftwood fire.

I chatted with some younger agro types but they were not so agro.

People played fetch with their dogs and Frisbee with each other.

Most of these people had normal lives and will never know the hell that I, and others like me, have known.

Eventually I packed my crap up; stuffing that wonderful new suit into my well used DaKine back pack.

My DaKine sack.

Twelve years of trudging…and it still mostly serves it’s purpose. Some of the zippers are oxidized now and eventually the stitching will fail, but it wasn’t show much more wear than myself and far less than my own soul.

I made my way back to the truck and left the lot.

Most of the fog had lifted.

Lifted from the road, and from my heart.

I found something new in surfing.

Something these ghosts can’t seem to grasp, and maybe that is why they are so anguished and restless.

I found that surfing…is fun.

It is supposed to be fun.

It was meant to be fun.

And…it is freedom.

More than freedom, or less than, depending on how you quantify freedom….it affords freedom.

And that is how surfing is different for me now.

Sure, you can say I am just not that core anymore, or that I never was, or that I am just getting old and lazy, or twist it around all you can so that it makes sense for you, but in there…somewhere in there….you know the truth..And one day…you will face it in some fog bank or parking lot…some day..These ghosts of yours will return to find that which you have still not found…

Yeah…surfing is different for me now and it is freedom, and it is fun….

And more times than not, I choose no to go.

But one day you may paddle out and see me, and I hope that you will notice the smile on my face or maybe on my heart…and you will know the freedom I now have.

Good luck to you….

I leave you with this....
Your electric car runs on coal. Think about it....
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