Winter and the Lonely Surfer

It’s mid-January at Rambling Harbor, and it seems as if the sun has not shown in months. We rejoice if the temperatures break the freezing mark. Me, I’ve been playing surfing music, Jimmy Buffett and any other tropical tunes I can think of. A mile from my home is the part of the beach that has the best waves, and even on a 10-degree day, with colder wind chill, you will still see some lonely soul either waiting for a wave, or just waiting, and I start reminiscing.

The dark night is a lonely time, and I hate it. My favorite time to be on the ocean was always the evening, and I would sit next to the calm sea, sun fading behind me. I would sit waiting for the ocean to erupt into a massive, raging wall of water that would be so demanding of my body and mind that I would have no time to feel alone or dread the night, and I would ride it. Ignoring it was not an option, and dying was always a possibility.

Many times my best surfing was when the ocean was calm. I would go out when the likelihood of good waves did not exist. I wanted the calmness. I could surf the universe in my mind, the dreams, the fears, and the unknown—sit on the water and barrel through the clouds in the sky. The ocean was and always will be the expression of the mysterious, especially at night. I wanted the depths of the darkness to talk to me, the ocean, the endless unknown ocean, where I could hear the splash of life. A porpoise? A fish? A shark?  I knew there were no answers to the night sounds of the waters around me. I would feel a stir beneath my feet, a few small fish or a squid or maybe something larger out for an evening meal. The ocean scared me and yet lured me back again and again, especially at dusk. As the night grew darker, the ocean and its hidden mysteries grew deeper, more daring, daring me to stay a minute longer and wait to see what danger there might be. To me, life was made solid, tangible, won or lost on a quick ride. Like the mysteries of life, as I sat there alone, I could absorb the loss of certainty, almost touch it, hold it, and I could sink or swim, no longer a metaphor but a fact. If a wave came I could rise or fall, retaining some control, always a choice I liked.

What about the actual surfing?  In those days most surfboards were made of Koa, a wood found in Hawaii. The original boards, called papahe'enalu in the native language, measured from 8 feet to 15 feet long and were very heavy. There is nothing like the feeling of a tube ride, hearing only the roar of the ocean as the wave breaks over your head, alone, against one of the mightiest forces ever created. You cannot control it. The best you can hope for is to ride the waves to the safety of land. Sometimes they will spin you around like a piece of cloth in a giant washer and slam your body against the bottom, knocking the breath out of you. You know at that instant that in some small way you have come face-to-face with death, but you rise to the top and let the rest of the wave carry you home.

There’s more on the safe shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.




R&B, Hip-Hop, and Taylor Swift

I would like to explain myself. Notice I said I would like to. The desire to explain myself happens rarely and never lasts very long because by the time I finish explaining myself I have changed a great deal and have to start over. Also, I already seem to be channeling the great verbal befuddler Yogi Berra again, hobbled by a brain freeze due in part to the 0 degree temperature outside the cabin here at Rambling Harbor—ZERO, as in goose egg, zip, and nada—along with a wind chill factor of -21 degrees.  Right now, I have the Boomtown Rats tune “Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)” running through my head, and it’s 3 a.m.

But I’ll try to explain myself. Last week I pretty much ripped apart Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as being one-sided, apparently paid for by every R&B and hip-hop manager in the world, if the performers, except Taylor Swift, were any indication.

The target audience for R&B and hip-hop, according to radio statistics, is teenagers and young adults, ages 16-25, both male and female, who tune in to Radio 1Xtra, KISS radio, and MTV Base, among other stations. They shop at places like Nike, Adidas, Hugo Boss, Prada, and Giorgio Armani and wear trendy, high fashion clothes like models on the covers of magazines. These were the people viewers saw on the broadcast, which prompted the question I asked in my blog and podcast last week: was anyone over the age of 30 celebrating New Year’s Eve in the good old U. S. of A.?

Personally I am not a hip-hop fan, though as with all music I can find parts I do like. I like my music on the rocks, so to speak, so after devoting 4 hours to R&B and hip-hop waiting to see Taylor Swift, who was the headliner but came on last, I have to ask, was this one-sided, or did I miss something?

Hear more thoughts on the rockin’ shore of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.



Another Lucid Moment, While Eating Persimmons

Yes! It’s true! I watched Ryan Seacrest and company on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, 4 hours of tribute to boy bands and R&B/Hip-Hop, whose agents must be doing a happy dance, as well as Taylor Swift’s, unlike the agents whose groups are female. While watching, I had a Lucid Moment and joined Brave Tune and Chloe Cat on the floor, eating persimmons.

On August 8 last year, you might remember, I had a lucid moment. I titled my blog “Lucid Moments” (of course you remember!).  You may  also recall my spirit guide, Brave Tune,  who wrote the song about Ted Nugent called “I’d like to stick my arrow in your nuggets, Nugent” after Teddy Boy called Native Americans vermin and less than human.

Brave Tune and I reconvened on New Year’s Eve, sitting on the cabin floor with Chloe Cat, waiting for the New Year to begin, and we started singing “All Along the Watchtower”and arguing about who did the best version, Hendrix or Dylan. There are only 27 lines in the entire 4-to-5 minute song. Of those 27 lines, all we could remember was something about a growling wildcat (no, sorry, actually that was Chloe Cat who remembered that one). I remembered something about a howling wind, and Brave Tune said something about two riders, so we ended up with a song that went like this:

All along the DC tower two riders did prowl.

As cougar Sarah Palin she began to growl,

I can see the Willard Hotel and Russia just as well.

At this her lungs began to swell.

And then a rider named Boehner said that life is but a joke.

And Chloe Cat chimed in with

I think you both might choke.

So we sat there in the middle of the room, eating persimmons, and waiting for the moon, which we could see from the floor. Chloe Cat then broke into Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” (that kitty can move!), and we ate more persimmons, but when Chloe Cat suggested singing Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang,” she was cut off from eating any more persimmons. 

Finally midnight arrived, and Ryan sank in midnight gloom, and Taylor sold out and didn’t need to moon—so much for New Year’s Eve.  I hope your New Year is full of peace and lots of love.

 There will be more on Seacrest and Swift in the podcast. Here’s the Snoop and its One Direction to the shores of Rambling Harbor. With a little “Wiggle” I hope you’ll join me there.


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