Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Coast

There must be some fundamental reason why people are drawn to the coast.  They say that human blood has the same salinity as sea water.  Maybe we're trying to stay connected with our roots in aquatic life, and feel pulled towards the sea?  Maybe also in times gone by that reason has been easier access to food and shelter?  In our modern times we are still drawn to the coast, perhaps for what it represents; time away from work and other commitments, time to relax and just be.  For some the thought of living away from the coast is unthinkable, and yes, that includes us.  From early childhood holidays onwards the pull of the sea has been strong in us both, and when we had opportunities to leave our landlocked homes we took them.  

For me as a regular surfer there has been a gradual process of learning, and acclimatisation to being by the coast, and in the sea particularly.  At first being in the sea with small waves was challenging. Then I got used to it, and found a new comfort zone in slightly larger waves.  And so on.  This process still continues to this day, and along the way I have had a few moments where I thought, "I really shouldn't be out here".  Without exception I have learned something from those moments, either about myself or about how the sea works. To use another metaphor, there's something about standing on top of a cliff that sharpens the senses, that makes you feel alive.  You are able to draw on hidden resources that you wouldn't otherwise know you had.

Thankfully (and probably due to a vegan diet) there have been relatively few health challenges to deal with while living by the coast, and most of those have been self inflicted; cycling and surfing injuries mainly.  There has however been one life threatening health problem that I've had to cope with, and is something that may come back fully at any time for the rest of my life.  The onset of this was the single most challenging thing I have ever lived through, and I am in no hurry to repeat, ever. Thankfully I go weeks now and don't even think about it.  During the time I was in the grip of this condition, there was one thing that kept me (relatively!) sane, and that was the coast, the sea, and surfing.  Thankfully I could still surf!  Someone once said that they 'had never had a single conscious thought during the act of riding waves'.  I have found this to be true for me also, and that break in thinking patterns can be enough to put some perspective on difficult situations, and provide a rest from thinking about yourself continuously.  This is why the film below speaks to me so loudly.  The coast can be a healing place for many people.

The Coast from NRS Films on Vimeo.

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