I landed on the Man o’ War covered Smathers Beach on the south end of Key West at around eleven in the morning. I jumped out of my kayak in front of dozens of tourists trying to tan their wintery white skin. My face was coated with zinc oxide, my eyes sunken in from lack of sleep, my clothes wet and smelly. I sat on the beach in the warm sand for a moment reflecting on what I had just done. I had paddled a kayak the same distance it would be to paddle to The Bahamas. The absurd goal, an unfathomable distance, didn’t seem so crazy anymore. The only difference, no bugs to fend off, no unpredictable currents, just open water and solitude. Continue reading Middle Keys to Key West
Today I stood between mountains of coral that towered next to me. Beneath thirty feet of crushing water, I sunk like a rock to the bottom and firmly stood with my feet planted on the sandy ridged bottom. Beneath the turbulent waves, I felt only gentle swaying with little current. Fan corals rocked back and forth alongside me. I could walk on the sandy bottom, pressing off each tiny dune in the sand for traction. With my arms spread wide, the walls of the reef were nearly within reach of my fingertips. Several large barracuda rested just above the sand, watching my every move with their teeth spilling from their jaws. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Freediving
I stopped eating flesh when I was fourteen. I had seen a chicken truck driving on I-95 with feathers flying everywhere and the birds suffocating, jammed into the mass. I wanted to have nothing to do with that. The question of purpose is one that damn near plagues vegetarians and ends up being a reason some of us hide the choice. Is it because of health reasons? Or moral reasons? Taste or cost? Environmental reasons? For the most part, the answer is yes to all of those.
I don’t believe in working out. This may seem shocking to many of you, especially those who believe I am a working out fanatic. Some people think, “Wow he exercises a lot for someone who doesn’t believe in working out.” But working out is done for the purpose of health. Training is similar to a basketball player practicing free throws or a tennis player working on serves. I don’t work out. I train.
Whoever invented tortellini was a genius. I swear I would give the guy a big bear hug if I ever met him. That’s a weird expression. If I ever saw a bear I’d book it and the last thing I would think of is hugging the darn thing. Well, getting back to where I was, cheese filled pasta, what a brilliant idea. I mean, who wants to eat pasta with cheese on top? Cheese inside is the way to do it.
I acquired some nice new tan lines today. Following in my tradition of wearing dress socks to cycling races, I not only got the jersey and shorts tan line, but my sock tan line is about halfway up my calf. Sexy, I know.
I also acquired some points toward a cycling category upgrade. I also got fifteen dollars for dinner money. In a race of fifty, I placed fourth to get that quantity of money. I’m not complaining, I didn’t expect to get any. But I am confused about something. There were five women in one race, and not only did every finisher win money, but last place won twenty-five dollars. Okay so I’m a little bitter. If I add up the totals of my $56.00 paycheck from a low deal sponsor two years ago, and my assorted prize winnings, my wage is about ten cents an hour. I work hard too. I work really hard. I’m gonna be a wealthy man if I keep this up.
I miss going to the beach. I have been racing or training hard every weekend since I got home and I really just want to go to the beach for a couple days with no bike, no running shoes, and no stress. Don’t get me wrong my life’s pretty awesome right now. I paint windows, I keep the yard clean, I train, I eat, sleep, and write on this blog and thats about it. By no stress I mean the vibe that comes when one goes to the beach. I miss sitting on my surf board and if there are waves, thats great, but if not, thats great too.
I guess surfing’s a lot like fishing. I love sitting on the dock with a line in the water, and not really caring if my bait has been nibbled off or not. Looking out over the water, hearing the splash of small waves hitting the rocks below the dock, that is the essence of stress free. Sitting out on the waves, bobbing up and down as the swells roll under me, not really caring if that indefinable “perfect” wave ever comes, that is the essence of stress free.
Last year my cousin and I set out before sunrise to ride the day’s set of waves. When we crested the dune to the beach, we looked out of the giant swells with mist spraying off the caps and felt like we were getting an early glimpse into heaven. We toed the water and while it was a little chilly, our adrenaline was pumping hard enough to keep us warm. We pushed through the waves with all our strength and soon we were sitting past the break on our boards, looking at the pastel sky overwhelming enough to make even the most stubborn atheists question their opinion. The water was glass smooth and the waves were clean and powerful. This combination of strength and grace is rare on the east coast and my cousin and I were all alone on the surf to witness it. Later in the day we lost dominance over our surfing spot. But for that morning we only had to share the peace with the beauty surrounding it.
Its coming close to my bed time. Goodnight.