I go into the water solo, so I don’t get the shots of these moments, so here’s an epic Sierra sunrise

I’m bobbing up and down in the water, contrasted by a surreal pink sky glow–just a silhouette on a vast horizon. Just me, a pair of fins, and a sky on fire. How many days of my life have I spent bobbing up in down catching waves for hours on end? I guess it’s irrelevant. Time is a flat circle. I’ve bobbed up and down in these currents for years, but I’ve traveled so far in that time, meanwhile staying centered right here. The ocean has always been a place where I’ve been able to gather my thoughts.

These are my final weeks in college, and upon completing these final projects I will graduate. Wait. There’s a set on the horizon.

I lean forward and start to kick my feet, utilizing my core so that my body moves as a fluid machine. The sky is growing ever darker shades of violent pink, orange, and red. Down. I dive way down under a wave pushing close to double over head. The waves are starting to crest the bottom of the Ocean Beach Cafe now–it sets on the pier. The tide is drops rapidly and the moon rises behind–the sun has long since disappeared below the horizon to greet some happy soul on the other side of the world.

I swim like I’m sprinting and position on the shoulder of a set wave, shifting my momentum to flow with it. I’m gliding down the face at an angle gaining speed as the wall runs and steepens. I’m keeping up with it. The lip pitches out and over me, and through the tunnel vision from the tube I see a near full moon illuminating the water with its silver beam. And just like that, I’m spinning in midair, pitched out under the falls of the wave and crashing back down into a dive through darkness and out the back. Waiting on the other side is the fiery pink sky. Is this a dream?

One of the projects is a photo essay. It’s about what death means to me, but using my own pictures. It’s an interesting topic, and one that I’ve become well acquainted with. It seems that the majority of my life I’ve invested in risk, and the past is littered with fallen comrades. Some died in car accidents, some overdoses, some in freak accidents, some natural causes, and some suicides. But I’m still here, bobbing up and down in my serene water park in Ocean Beach.

The tide has drained out, and the waves are offering nothing but walled closeouts. The fire in the sky is starting to dim, and rising from its embers are the dark clouds littered across the coastal horizon. It’s time to catch my last wave for the evening and start making my way back into the life I left at the shore.

The pictures speak to me–the past whispers its sweet nostalgic memories in my ear, and for a moment I feel a crushing blow at the loss of a single person. I think that when she died I had flipped a switch because I wasn’t capable of investing my time into grieving. I created a new set of memories, and tried to associate my previous ones with insanity. But the whispers tell a different tale. Seven years of grieving experienced in an instant.

I live a life filled with risk, and someday the sun will set on my horizon. I will be a silhouette slowly fading, and then I will be nothing. But when I go, I want it to be to a chorus such as this, bobbing up and down contrasted by a surreal pink sky glow–just me and a glorious fire filled sky fueled by my courage to go out and find an authentic purpose with a meaningful end.


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