I am sure you’ve all experienced the magic of floating in the Atlantic. Bobbing in the salty water, assessing the horizon, watching the ocean swell and identifying the wave you wish to carry you onto the shore. The wave presents itself, perhaps a crest of foam emerges and you swim like hell to stay ahead of it. The wave is temptation, inspiration, motivation, or in some cases, desperation!
Some days you catch that wave just right. Holy shit, what a wonderful feeling. All 250lbs. of your mass glides effortless across the top of emerald green water, an enormous dumb smiles spreads across your face like the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland, and it gently delivers your fleshy mass perfectly onto the beach in front of friends and family, as if to present you to the world as a premier specimen: “Introducing the world famous, supremely talented, divinely handsome RKDEEM!”
Man, the world is great when you catch that wave just right. However, anyone knows that a human who tries to catch a wave can sometimes mess up the whole experience. No matter how good you think you are. That wave swells up, revealing a foamy lip, you swim like hell, rushing to get on its cusp and it creeps right past you, the wave leaves you behind. You missed the moment, you missed the ride, you didn’t time it right. The wave passing you by, you paddle back into the ocean and hope to catch the next opportunity to redeem yourself.
The other scenario is even worse, you see the swell and foaming cusp, you swim like hell and the wave breaks. You try to stay in front of it, but paddling too far ahead. It all starts to crash, the wave envelops your body, it sucks you inside and thrashes your 250 lbs. of mass effortlessly into a swirling violent eddy…absolutely no control, you cannot steer, you are at the mercy of the ocean. Your lungs fill with saltwater, your body is upside down, face dragging across the sandy bottom and your toes burst into the salty air, tumbling onto the beach and your wife meets you in the wash to make sure you’re okay. Not good.
Man oh man, if you ride a dozen waves, you realize you better damn be humble, that next wave can make you look like a clown. My mother said that you’ll meet the same people coming up as you’ll see coming down and that is sincerely the truth.
Without spilling the beans on all the details, I’ve been catching a couple good waves lately. Work is good, family is good, there’s a sense of optimism and pride, I hope to ride this wave all the way to the beach. Kids, work, wife, dog(s), and all that stuff and just going supremely well.
With all that being said, these multitudes of waves are a blessing. It would be pure agony if a wave only came upon you once a month or year and you missed it, thank God, there is a next wave, you can redeem yourself, you just need to keep paddling. There is luck or there is determination, I am thankful for the luck and I am proud to have never stopped paddling.
Paddling like crazy isn’t so bad when you have an excellent soundtrack, special thanks to:
Luna – downloaded dozens of theirs song, saw their reunion concert and even read their book (Black Postcards), I am possibly obsessed, but their music earned it. Most excellent band, never got their due, one of my favorites.
Bahamas – Here’s a way to really make you feel like a horrible human being, try driving 5 hours away from the family you love, late on a Sunday night in the midst of a snow storm. Fortunately, there was an amazing West Virginia public radio show called Ecleptopia which introduced me to a band called Bahamas. A perfect band for such an occasion.
Regina Spektor – A couple years ago, I think I put her near the top of my list of favorite musicians. Not that many folks read this blog, but those who did were skeptical, but I swear she is the real deal, she is beautiful, sincere, unique, and sincere.
The Band – Just love their music. Long Black Veil, Up On Cripple Creek, The Weight. We were in Ohiopyle, PA and a couple kayak guides strolled into a diner/bakery and they were singing The Band’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, you know this song was playing in some dive house party with cheap beer and regrettable behavior, but it was all perfect for them.
Bob Dylan – Man oh man, he’ll get his own review some day, but in the meantime, think about this, there is nothing close to him. Just listen to: Love Sick, Mississippi, Not Dark Yet, Standing In The Doorway, Shelter From The Storm, Visions of Johanna, Its Alright Mama, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. His lyrics are hysterically honest and sad, that’s the biggest compliment I can give him.