Surfing and Self-Realization

**Sorry for the silence, but I have been tending to my health and well-being with a long-overdue trip to my hometown of San Diego, where I had the most wonderful time visiting with family and friends. It should come as no surprise that I managed to find an abundance of Smallpeace in beautiful, sunny Southern California. I think they must grow it there. Anyway, couldn’t get any photos of the surfers of which I write, as we were too far away, but suffice it to say that this was one of the more memorable images of my trip:

From the highest point in the gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, California, the view of the Pacific Ocean is a site to behold. There is a raggle-taggle row of surfers bobbing in the water below. It is Friday morning, around 10:30 or so. On each board, a surfer waits, some talking, some staring out at the offshore break, some lazily paddling into a more strategic position. The beach along the shoreline is empty. It is a quiet section, and the air is full of anticipation.

Abruptly, the wind shifts and the surfers hustle into place. Any double-parked boards separate and fall into line, and then the poetry happens. The surfers angle for optimum positioning, sinuously, expertly, just ahead of where the swell has begun to build. Then, all at once, with Zen master focus, they all set off, synchronizing their strokes in time with the rhythm of the rising swell. The most practiced—or just plain lucky—among them get the timing just right, springing feline-like into an upright position, sinking their weight into their hips, softening their knees, and training their gaze in the direction they want their boards to go. It occurs to me that the relationship between surfer and sea is not unlike the alchemy that can occur between the best riders and horses, and I begin to see them as mini Poseidons rising from the depths, brandishing their tridents, in full command of their destinies, completely awake in the moment.





About Smallpeace

Michele Karas is a poet, essayist, and longstanding professional copywriter, who currently works for a top-five US book publisher. Her poems and prose have appeared in literary journals, including Tinderbox, THRUSH, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Narrative magazine, among others. Michele holds a BA in Journalism from San Diego State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY, The City College of New York. Find her on Twitter @small_peace.
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6 Responses to Surfing and Self-Realization

  1. Hadiza Dockeray says:

    Beautiful writing. Oh Michele, you took me right back! Watching the surfers from way up high in the gardens is a vivid and calming memory from my last visit.

    • Smallpeace says:

      Funny you should say that, H, as I often think of you when I’m cutting through the rows of beach cottages in Mission Beach. I think you should wear night blooming Jasmine as your perfume. Happy memories those summer days in college.

  2. Touch2Touch says:

    I’ve never even seen surfers, but you bring the scene vividly to life before the eyes of my mind. Happy for you in a restorative trip.
    The photos of the carp are like wonderful Japanese prints, especially that single fish. Superb!

  3. Smallpeace says:

    Oh you are missing something, T2T, if you’ve never scene these glorious bodies in motion. Do try and put it on your bucket list. I made it a point to fall in love with several surfers in my youth and spent long, devoted hours watching them from the shore, or body surfing out of range of their boards. It’s my regret that I never got on a board myself, and I’m thinking it’s high time…or perhaps past time? I’ve committed to taking a lesson the next time I’m visiting my mom. Thanks for your lovely feedback. M

  4. Karen says:

    Lovely photos that look so restful. Sounds like a very peaceful experience.

  5. Smallpeace says:

    Thanks, Karen. Your flower-festooned Maine summer sounds equally as peaceful.

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