I use to say - just ride the wave- I'm not sure why- I like the ocean, I felt it fit. Then I found the mantra...."sit loosely in the saddle of life" Robert Louis Stevenson that I love for my job as it connects to The Works founder who rode horses- his saddle is one of my favorite things in our collections. Well at the beach I learned about "riding the wave".....and how hard it is. It is a very good metaphor for life. Life isn't easy and neither is riding the waves- or surfing the waves as I had a real life lesson when I ventured off Newark-Granville Road to the NC beach, my new favorite vacation spot.
Greg, my brother-in-law (sister Sarah's husband) is a surfer. He is a big reason why we go to Hatteras Island at the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. We had heard how nice it was there and six years ago rented a hometown friend's house in Nags Head and gave it a try. This was without my sister and her family- just my parents and my family. We loved it! It is low key, great beaches, fun oceans, very simple vacationing. The next year my sister and her family joined us and we went further south on OBX and loved it. We went further south for better surfing for my brother in law. The reality is we all love how even simplier it is an hour south of a beach town outlet mall. The next year we settled into the fun of "under one roof" and the entire Stoner clan united. We went even further south to Avon because that was the town with the real grocery store....the prior year in Waves we spent a lot of time driving to the Avon store. The time togehter, traditions like fishing on the pier, taking yoga overlooking the beach, the kid talent show that wraps up with all family dance party, charades, bonfires, each of our dinners and amazing meals- all under one roof has made it my favorite. I will always hold Naindi just outside of Middlebury, VT on Lake Dunmore close to my heart, not to mention Sea Colony and the Delaware/MD shore....but it happened. I embrace all the beauty and declare it the new favorite of my favorite vacation spots in my life on Newark-Granville Road.
As part of this all these years I've watched my brother in law surf. I've seen his passion for this hobby, way of life, activity.....he gets up early to go to his board, he leaves us to float/drift...it sounded wonderful. I've watched him give Clare coaching and seen her go confidently into the sea board in hand. My brother and sister chatted about it. This trip I decided I wanted to try and so on the last afternoon of the vacation I went surfing.
Well kind-of...the reality is I just wanted to float on something and the board looked nicer than the kids boogie boards and we didn't have an old fashioned canvas raft I grew up with....may need to go back to that. So on the last day of the week hearing how challenging it is and how it relates to yoga and Pilate's and a strong core....and having reconnected with Yoga with two beach practices (Koru Village!!) I went out into the sea....I love the ocean- always have. I love a rough surf to jump the waves. My father would take me out after storms in Delaware when I was little. I don't mind getting tumbled and sandy- I find it all therapeutic- the salt water, stones and sand...I chose a choppy day according to Greg and had some challenges getting the board past the breaks to the right spot...but I persevered and did it. I had challenges staying on the board, opening my legs/hips to be able to sit up and changing my center of gravity and weight distribution to made it all work....but I stuck with it (as Sally encouraged me to do immediately when learning I was going to try to surf) and kept trying and figuring it out. I was on my own- my brother in law did his thing and I found myself pretty far away but comfortable. I decided it was time to try to catch a wave or at least take the board to shore....was pretty pathetic but made it in...never attempted to stand or kneel....then the last step out of the surf onto the sand- wham- not pretty- I tumbled and the board was awkwardly rolling- not a pretty site. Haven't had sand like that in places like that in years...oh well. I composed myself and headed up the beach to our spot and some coaching- I wanted to try again. Kids came to carry my board for me- but no- I wanted to set the example- you surf you carry your board- my sister told Greg (who sent the kids) that is what I would do- she knows me well. I took a rest, got some water and we went back at it with some coaching. This time went much better- I was able to truly float, paddle and stay on the board, getting beyond the breaks was not near as hard. I loved it- it was yoga on the ocean- the board was the mat and the waves the energy that I love when I'm with others practicing yoga- it was really beautiful. However trying to catch the wave, to ride it was really hard and I didn't get there. I didn't expect to and I am just glad I had the chance to understand a bit what Greg finds and connects with and for me to be in the beloved ocean in another way. So I knew it was time to return to land and move the day forward.....I was buying clams for Sarah to make for appetizers!! I made my way in sort of by riding some waves on my belly. I was attempting another dismount from the ocean and wham- the wind caught the board and I was smacked on the face- wow! A bit dazed...I composed myself and made my way up the beach....sure enough the next morning I woke up with a black eye. Good for me it was my cheek with the injury and not the nose. Again the metaphor is there- life is like riding ways- transitions can be the hardest part, it can be cruel and it takes practice, practice, practice, coaching, time but there is so much beauty and joy and energy to be received from it too......I love seeing the kids' reaction to the black eye too. I've had them before- one in particular makes us laugh from my Kentucky Days- it was laser tag. I learned the lesson that injuries happen when you are tired and should probably be resting, not moving on...sort of like my parents advice that nothing good happens after midnight and my curfew saved me on several occasions.....Sally is quick to tell you it wasn't a surfing dismount but a shark attack and I won- she says it with such pride and enthusiasm...and that makes me happy and proud of my shiner on Newark-Granville Road too. Life is about being a life long learner and this amazing vacation gives many lessons.