My first paddle-out in weeks, and of course I brought the wrong board. The waves were lumbering in, lazy and soft, and there I was on my skinny 6'10" bonzer. The five-finned dart was made for size and power. Here there was none. And it was cold. The last day of May and I was encased in neoprene.
It was a little after 8:00. The hordes of Memorial Day Weekenders were trickling in; I figured I'd have maybe 15 minutes before they started hitting the water. Normally I avoid the beaches on holiday weekends. But today was a day steeped in tradition - I had to surf. Or at least make the attempt. I'd done it every year on this particular date since starting...eleven years ago? Is that how long it's been? Damn.
Buoyant. The waves, such as they were, rolled under me. I tried taking a couple, but they were gutless, and the board didn't bite. The sun was out. The water was slightly murky, sand and detritus stirred up by opposing swells. Nothing goes away, and I wondered about all those shimmering particles. Here, a flake of some long-dead Grecian hoplite's armor. There, a tiny fragment of a meteorite, all that remained of a journey spanning light-years. Dolphin bones and the cells of species yet to be. I marveled at that, as I always do. Drifting atop Time itself: it's one of the perks. It's one of the things that keeps me coming back.
"Wasn't much better yesterday." The voice snapped me back to the present. It belonged to an older guy, a gray-haired longboarder. He paddled past me. "Seems colder, too". "Well," I said, "at least we got some sun. And at least you brought the right board. I shoulda brought my noserider." He laughed. "Yes, you shoulda!" I chuckled. We both scanned the horizon. And of course he said what we all know: "Well, the point of it is to have fun." "Yes, indeed", I grinned, and almost told him that it was my birthday.