I want to surf again. I want to get new contact lenses so I can see the waves coming. I want to heal my back and shoulders so I can paddle out and have fun in the waves with my boy and teach him to surf. I want to noseride, hang 5, cross step, drop knee turn, and do long sweeping bottom turns on chest to head high waves. I want to make videos with a GoPro mounted to my board. Mostly I want to heal and enjoy the moments in the water and sunshine and have some fun.
I really need to get back in the ocean for my own sanity and the well being of my soul. When I’m out there the mental chatter stops, the stress melts away, the moment expands and the rise and fall of each swell brings with it endless possibilities. Simply floating on my board soaking in all the energy and beauty of the ocean is so relaxing and rejuvenating. Catching waves is another level entirely. To position myself in the peak spot, to turn around and paddle early and hard enough to match the speed of the wave, then to pop to my feet just before it breaks hoping my feet land in the right place on my board, off I go, zooming down the face harnessing the momentum into a long sweeping bottom turn, carrying all that force right up the wall of water as I take two quick steps closer to the nose, settling down the back of the board is covered with water, the rail is locked and I am cruising down the line. Going so fast I outrun the wave, I take two steps back and dig my toe in as I drop my knee for a big cutback to get back in position. I smack off the white water and head for the nose again this time with four little steps placing my front foot out for a cheater five. Bliss! Thrill! Surfing! Wipeout! Hoot and holler I paddle back out smiling as big as my face will allow. Yeah, I need to get back in the water.
So how does this relate to pottery making? For me pottery making is a healing journey. Physically, mentally, emotionally it has helped me feel whole again and soothed some of my injuries. It’s taught me patience, forgiveness, and allowed me to begin again and again. I learn how to be centered and present so I can center clay on the wheel. It has taught me to let go of what just happened or what is coming up and to be focused in the moment. If I rush it or push too hard the pot does not make it. I need to be sensitive to the clay and what is happening under my fingers in such a nuanced and subtle way. Every slight pressure or pinch causes a reaction in the clay. Long board surfing is similar in that every slight lean or foot pressure or adjustment in balance can take you further down the wave or send you flying off your board. Both activities invite me to be whole and aware. In one I make or lose a pot, in the other I make or lose the wave. Both journeys are beautiful and humbling. Both journeys require focus and being centered, both allow another chance to begin again being open to learning from this moment.
There is always another wave and there is always another pot.