Someone talking on CBC today reminded me of how I would approach the ocean in my childhood.
I spent countless Christmas Holidays in Hawaii growing up; it was a huge deal for our family to get away from the dark north coast of BC, and my Dad worked overtime hours all summer long, fighting forest fires in BC so that he could pay for us to spend two weeks in paradise. My sister and I loved the water. We would play on the beach and in the waves all day, until we were so salty our fingers wrinkled, and so full of sand it weighed down the crevices in our bathing suits.
Both her and I were avid swimmers, and completely unafraid of the ocean. It isn’t even fair to say “unafraid”, as that implies that there was something to be afraid of. We had total trust in the ocean. We especially loved our days at Ka’anapali Beach on the west side of Maui, a beach known for the steep drop off and big waves.
I have the clearest memories of my sister and I positioning ourselves strategically so that we would be just at the point where the wave breaks and crashes. So that we would be absolutely, at the utmost and completely at the mercy of the wave. Our child-sized bodies would get tossed and turned like we were in a washing machine. The wave would pass, and we’d try to swim up for air, but instead hit the sand, completely turned upside down.
Of course, we never worried. The surface was always there, not far away, and we’d simply push our feet off the sand and pop up again, laughing, getting the water out of our ears and comparing our experiences. We trusted the ocean completely.