Forgive me, Poseidon, for I have sinned. It had been four weeks since my last surf.
The shoulder. It was, as it turned out, Rotator Cuff Tendonitis. I didn't need surgery. The doc told me Aleve, two tablets twice daily. I did that and had a nightcap: some anti-inflammatories that I'd gotten the last time this happened. 2007? The label on the meds said to discard after 11/10/2008. That I'm sitting here typing this is a good indicator that the pills didn't go bad.
So I let the meds do what they do and yesterday summoned up my courage and drove up to Undisclosed Location. The big dog, my 9' 6" classic, rode beside me. I rolled the windows down and blared loud music and screamed along with it. Some people in a car with Indiana plates gave me a funny look. I sneered at them. What do you know about all of this, the ocean, the sky, the Endless Quest for The Perfect Day? You're from God-damned Indiana.
I actually did this, before I strode into the water, board tucked under my right arm: punched myself in the heart, slapped the blue waves inked into my right shoulder. This. Is. Sparta. Leapt onto the board and paddled.
There was no pain. Adrenaline, perhaps? Sense of purpose? That effusive state of Being we call stoke? Who knows. I was a different creature, a sleek toothy predator out of the Devonian Age, I was grinning, hungry. The ocean was a warm sloppy mess, waves backing off, flattening out, collapsing tiredly upon themselves. I didn't care. I wanted to paddle. Use my arms and shoulders that had been forged over the years to power me through chop and closeout. Weeks of being landlocked, and all that comes with it...I could have paddled past the buoys, past the Channel Islands, past the green and black hills of the Hawai'ian Islands, past the Lemurian spires of Bali, into the pelagic world, into Oceanus itself.