Posted by: smithdavid | January 27, 2013

Fresh Vigour

My body aches as I lie on the mattress. It’s been a long time since I’ve had so many consecutive days of exercise. The mattress is thin and doesn’t offer much cushion between the floor and I. I could’ve chosen to sleep in another room where a bed might have fitted or even stayed in a guest house. But  being surrounded by all your books and effects, sleeping in this space where you wrestled with all those nebulous  concepts on which your faith was founded, makes you real to me once more.

Some nights you flutter through my dreams, some days I look through the shelves and stagger under the weight of perceived futility. But whenever I rise, and it’s surfing that compels me to get up, the motion pulls my consciousness from the existential back to the simple, immediate detail of being alive.

phoenix and the blue bus

phoenix and the blue bus

Today is my last day in Gonubie.  I don’t think it would have been possible for me to have taken the Blue Bus out into the ocean more often than I did. Right now I’m thinking about all the times I nose-dived on waves that jacked up before I’d chance to paddle into them. I’m thinking about the side rip that pulled me to the potentially dangerous river mouth. I’m thinking about all those hard yards of paddling I’ve done, trying to get out past the impact zone.

I’m remembering the time my Celtic patterned ring slipped off my thumb (where I purposely put it to prevent this very thing from happening) and dropped quickly and finally into the churning white-water. ‘Nanny stole it,’ said six-year-old Megs when I told the others. I’m thinking maybe it did brush with one of those spent parts of you that we returned to the ocean.

I’m thinking maybe I’ll just stay on this mattress, I’ve surfed enough for one holiday. But then I think of all that time spent bobbing up and down in the backline, watching the white plume as waves thunder to the shore. I’m thinking of how tired and satisfied and salty my limbs feel each time I take that wetsuit off.

I remember that one wave from yesterday, or perhaps the day before. I saw it rise and knew I had to get on it and I was the only one out there and it was easy. And it seemed like nothing special but then, as I was about to jump from it, I saw it rise once more and I felt it thrust me along with fresh vigour and the spray as it curled and broke made me shout words that only I would ever hear into the vast atmosphere.

gonubie dusk

gonubie dusk

Now I ask my tired muscles to lift me one more time. I put my boardies on and get Phoenix’s keys and I load the Blue Bus into her.



  1. Dave,

    “One more time.” So long as have the will and energy to go out that one more time, it’s all good.


    • nothing like the hope of just one more tom.

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