On occasional Saturday evenings, a friend and I take a break from our lives and hike down to Black's Beach, a secluded and mostly unmanicured (read: more natural) stretch of beach that nestles between the sea and some magnificent sandstone cliffs. We walk, and sometimes swim, and sit on our towels and talk without the interruptions of everyday life.
Last night, we discussed how the modern world of technology, the recording of our lives, through blogs, and digital photography and social networks is causing so many people to spend more time recording life and less time actually living it. We theorized about the effects of this kind of lifestyle on society.
I admitted that the time I spend blogging, while helping to keep my family and friends in touch with our lives, and letting me off the hook when it comes to writing individual emails to folks, does take up a good amount of my free time that could be better spent watching good movies with the hubby or sitting outside enjoying a warm dark evening with a glass of wine.
But I defended my digital photography and photo shopping my photos as a pastime I would call "living" because of the amount of pleasure it gives me, and an investment towards future pleasure because I know how poor my memory is and I don't want to forget my kids' childhoods.
Then, we realized the hour was getting late, the sun was getting low in the sky and if we were going to swim, we should swim.
My friend, Karin, had brought her surfboard and when we had gotten out to the breaks, she handed me the board's leash and told me to attach it to my ankle! I nervously did as I was told, and just as I got it attached she said, "Get on! There's your wave!" I think Karin wanted to remind me what really living could feel like. I looked over my shoulder to see a wall of water coming at us!
I assumed one could just lay on their belly on a surfboard and relax, but I immediately flipped over and had to hop back on again, unbalanced, legs akimbo, cheek against the wax, trying to get my bearings. Karin yelled, "Paddle your arms!" and I wasn't even able to try before the wave lifted me up and pushed me forward. I held on for dear life, belly flat on the board, grin across my face and raced all the way to the beach!
It was completely and absolutely exhilarating!
And it turned out I was lucky for my first wave because I had a lot of trouble catching a second, but in time I was able to balance easily and learned to tip forward and back to stay right on the crest of the wave so I could keep moving.
In between sets of waves, time slowed down and the the color of the sunset on the water was an astounding gold and dark blue. Looking back at the beach showed the last glow on the walls of the golden cliffs. The sun had already set and things became even more ethereal and beautiful. It was so quiet and peaceful and lovely.
A sea lion swam for a bit only 20 feet from me, and at one point, while I lay mesmerized on the board, staring into the fading light playing on the water, a flock of about 100 black birds flew just a foot or so above my head, low over the water, out to sea and into the pumpkin-colored sky. I felt like I was one of them for a moment and then they left me behind.
Someone seemed to have turned off the waves, and after drifting for another while, we turned back toward land to find our towels in the dark.