Posted by: smithdavid | May 12, 2013

Wanting Nothing

We’re looking down on Tullan from the cliff edge, I feel heat from the sun on my face, the wind that threatend to pick up earlier has become still.

‘Not as clean as yesterday…’ says Emmet, shading his eyes.

‘Still, it was worth getting in,’ says Glen.

We’ve already had a two hour session and now we’re enjoying the post-surf glow. In a while, Glen will make a detour past Trim to drop Emmet off, they both have work tomorrow. I’ve got an extra day.

Down below a  few from the East Coast Surf Club are making the most of what’s left of the swell. There was just enough in it to make our two hours the second best surf we’ve ever had in Tullan.

a few down below at tullan

a few down below at tullan

Glen folds up the burger wrappings, Emmet’s fair home was a Zinger and chips from the KFC up the road. ‘Suppose we should get going,’ he says.

When they’re gone, I text Tara (she and Nicky are also staying an extra day in Rossnowlagh) – we’re surfing ross when i get back, if we get in the swell will come!

So now we’re standing waist deep in the high tide in front of the Sandhouse. The sky is beginning to go pink, there is no-one else in (no-one else is here but if they were, they wouldn’t be as foolsih as to be in at this lake-like time). Occasionally a ripple comes through, not even a foot high, and I turn Matilda and paddle. But there is no chance that she will catch.

Nicky and Tara laugh as they watch, then they make (just about) a few waves. Nicky gives me his 9’6″ after a while, he’s content to paddle up and down on Matilda for a while.

A ripple comes, I paddle, I feel the pull, I stand. But I fall just as soon and all three of us kill ourselves laughing. Nicky didn’t bother putting his leash on the board so I have to wade, still laughing, to shore to collect it. But it’s only ten yards or so away.

I make a few mini-waves and then Tara takes Matilda, Nicky takes his board, I take Tara’s.

pink sky at rossnowlagh

pink sky at rossnowlagh

‘Mind the fin…’ she says as I ride a wave into the shallow water, jumping off as I remember the way I broke a fin off the mini-mal all that time ago.

I am once again aware of the sensation of not wishing to be anywhere else.

At last, reluctantly – like kids called in by their parents, we pick our boards up and leave the placid sea behind us.

Dinner is in Nicky & Tara’s red camper. Nicky (also a vegetarian) is making meatfree pasta, Tara’s pouring beer. We could’ve gone to Smugglers to eat, it wouldn’t have been busy now that the bank holiday is over. But getting in amongst the world again might’ve somehow broken the spell of wanting nothing.



  1. Dave,

    I love the title and the closing phrase, “the spell of wanting nothing.” And the story captures that deep wisdom perfectly.

    I’m sitting on my back porch, finishing my coffee, and then I’ll be headed to the beach. I need to return to the city soon and earlier was feeling some stress about that. Looking ahead, my mistake.

    But then I read your post and it reminded me of the glorious simplicity of it all. Right here, in this moment, with my dog beside me, looking into the pine forest, trees swaying in the light breeze- the spell returns. Wanting nothing.

    Thank you for the reminder.


    • glad the post struck a chord with you tom. thanks, always, for reading. dave

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