March 28-April 3, 2020

“Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-
They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-”
“...breeding
lilacs out of dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”

Aperilis, the following, the next. Formerly the second month. This April, this spring, seems like it has been here for a while, like we have all been paused in that space of time described by Williams and Elliot; we are all once again frightened, naked children, uncertain about everything except that we are here in this world together hoping for the roots to stir and the world to bloom again as we think it should.

April 1, 2020

The second half of March was filled with quarantine, lockdowns, travel bans, and floods like we havenʻt seen in years. Twice in less than 10 days the skies opened and turned the rivers upside down and the oceans red and brown. I managed to sneak in one surf between the rains and today made it out again, on the foolʻs day.

I stopped at Longʻs for toilet paper, which they did not have. I was careful not to touch anything, least of all my face, which all of a sudden itches in an unfamiliar way every time I think about not touching my face. I left the store and made my way to Mahaʻulepu, looking for some spot of ocean that wasn’t still muddy from the rains. The south shore is the best bet as there are fewer rivers that empty that way.

As I pulled up to the spot on the hill overlooking the break, a set rolled through and I knew immediately that things were going to be fun. The winds were light, variable, the tide was low, rising to .89 feet by 12:30. The sun lit up the swells, turquoise and blue, like a honu. Not a hint of brown anywhere except the river. 

I walk-ran down the hill, waxed up, peed, watched another set, applied sunscreen, and was out in the lineup by 9:50. No one was at the house; no one was on the beach; the winds were light, the current was light, the waves were consistent and I decided to get in one shortsless ride before anyone walked down the sands.

Thereafter, pants up, the session was mostly sublime. The water was still cool with a hint of the heavy rains of March, the sun was shining, the winds blowing almost offshore (rare for Mahaʻulepu), and the waves were fun sized, coming in shoulder to head high over and over. I noticed too that most of the waves rolled through with extremely wide shoulders, resulting in lots of face and long rides down the line. I took many into that inside section where the water is just inches away from reef. I even snuck five over the edge on one wave and made it out the back safely.

No one joined me in the line up, except a little sea turtle and a butterfly. After nearly two hours of surfing (Iʻd have stayed longer but my legs are still sore from doing PE with Joe, the now pandemic famous phys-ed teacher to the world), I paddled in, rinsed off, had a bit of a snack and a walk in the woods.

I am hoping April is more like today than March. 

April 3, 2020

C– and S– both texted to try to meet up for a session. S– was checking out Kahili and Kealia, I suggested Anchors, and Caleb’s original call was Mahaʻulepu. By the time I checked Anchors, around 10:00, the wind was too strong and the waters were still a bit brown. S– wasn’t interested in driving to the South side, so he stuck around close to home. I pulled up to the edge of the cliff at Mahaʻulepu about 10 minutes before C–. 

There was no wind, but the water was bumpier than Wednesday, with a weird chop on the surface. The tide was rising to a .7 foot high tide at 11:40, but the swell was smaller and less consistent than the other day. The sky was tall today, light gray, and there was a halo around the sun. It occurred to me that the size of the circle the halo of light etched around the sun probably depended on the elevation of the water vapor making up those thin, gray clouds. I suppose there is a math problem there to solve, if only I knew the equations. As I sat in the line up, I noticed the water was clear, mostly, but all shades of black, today, not green or blue. This too could be connected to the clouds obscuring the bright blues of the sky.

The waves were slower, smaller, a bit gutless, but a few fun ones still made it through. After being out of the water so much in March, and now being locked away from everyone, just paddling around was enough. I remember a large black fish turning under me as I found the inside section over the last, shallowest portion of reef. There were few colors anywhere in the ocean today, but talking, even from a distance, with an old friend, was a nice change.

We stayed out for a few hours, C– leaving before me, to relieve his babysitter. He told me about L–ʻs board again, that she wasn’t able to ride anymore and then will never ride anymore; we talked about school a bit, but most just about these strange times.

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