Really living and really dying*

Posted: January 3, 2006 in Uncategorized

There are those rare few who live with only a passing nod to the kinetic nature of life. Actions do not necessarily have equal and opposite reactions, nor do they always have the potential for them. These few tend to go on to do remarkable things. However, they also tend to have a shorter time to do them.

I am not one of these people. For me, life is doled out as a string of effects, be their causes intentional or the chance result of a mathematically psychotic universe. This however means I live with that double-edged sword, that thing that keeps us both alive and confused, fear.

Back when our ancestors still relied heavily on geology for shelter, fear was what kept you sustained by the wildlife, and not the other way around. It heightened your alertness and prevented you from wandering into a field alone, where many things faster than you and with far pointier teeth lay in wait. Nowadays, fear has been introduced into far more complex and less life-threatening scenarios, and generally made things even more complicated.

As a 3-day swell pounds the western coast of the Hawaiian Islands, this bit of personal introspection occurs to me again and again, specifically with the crest of each wave that appears on the horizon as I bob in the water. Just as a person standing by your head as you lay on the ground looks disproportionately tall, a 10-foot unstoppable wall of glistening, crystaline-blue water looks rather daunting from the surface of the trench it has carved out of the ocean. Despite my own personal history telling me that these things are not as dangerous as they look at this moment, as I crane my neck back to watch for the familiar patterns of a wave in the throes of breaking, any memories of the joys of riding along the face of the water are crowded out by those of tumbling in whitewash, head over heels, with no idea which way is up. Fear draws the worst case scenario card in my mind.

It is at this moment that I must decide what is rational fear and what is simply reactionary. What is keeping me alive, and what is keeping me from living.

The ocean is not waiting to catch me alone, too far from a tree. But I must still keep my spear handy.

(* This post brought to you by accidentally closing the damned window after a burst of eloquence, losing everything, and having to type the whole thing over again from fragmented memory and with a fraction of the motivation.)

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Comments
  1. tokori says:

    there are swells that big out there and you are on your computer!
    go get on your damn surfboard boy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    there are swells that big out there and you are on your computer!

    go get on your damn surfboard boy!

  3. muffster says:

    it turned out well even if it was the step child of the first.

  4. Anonymous says:

    it turned out well even if it was the step child of the first.

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