12 September 2010
Day 169: The Wave
I might have been six. It was an overcast day, chilly, but not too cold. One of those California days where a windbreaker isn't a bad idea, and it was the early 90's or late 80's when windbreakers were "cool." The entire family was out on the beach for the day, probably in addition to a trip to one of the more interesting coastal towns.
I was wading in the water, enjoying the feel of fine sand between my toes, and the push and pull of the water. I looked back to watch my family walk further up the beach, away from the surf. My dad cupped his hand around his mouth and yelled at me,
"Don't turn your back on the ocean."
And as I turn around, a wave knocks me off my feet and takes me out to sea. I felt it suck me back as I gulped sea water, my eyes burning from the salt. My head broke the surface some seconds later and I coughed the water back out and tried to orient myself before the wave pushed me back under. I was actually more calm under the water than above. Underneath I knew the wave would have its way with me, and there was not much I could do but wait for my next breath. The calm I felt was uncanny, as if it would be okay if I just let go and let the ocean have me. The wave finally let me go, pushing me out of the surf and onto the sandy beach. I scrambled up before another wave could take me. And I never turned my back again.
But it wasn't the last time the ocean tossed me around like a toy. Read more tomorrow.
This is a good overview of what's in the book, if not an actual review.