Ed's thoughts

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." - Ed Abby

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Burning Turtle

I wish a "burning turtle" was surfing lingo for a gnarly move executed only by the best of the best wave riders. It would be equivalent to baseball's 'perfect game." So complex, and requiring such skill, it would be performed so rarely that those two contradictory words would rarely be uttered in sequence. "Dude, Slater pulled off the first burning turtle of the Millennium!"

Unfortunately, it is literally what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

I am a lover of turtles and always have been. As a child I dreamed of them regularly. As an adult, I stop for turtles on the side of the road: carrying pregnant mothers safely across to lay their eggs, and mourning those already crushed by two tons of steel, rubber and glass.

I have never seen a sea turtle in the wild and fear I never will.

As a longboarder surfing a beach break, I often "turn turtle" before oncoming waves because duck diving a 9 footer is not easy. The move simply entails rolling over like a turtle on its back while the wave breaks and then turning over again and paddling like hell to get out the back before the next breaker.

Yesterday I imagined what it would be like to come up for breath meeting flames instead of oxygen. Surface you die. Stay under you die. It is a terrifying choice for turtles and for men.

What does one do when one's sorrow is so profound it can only be exceeded by tomorrow's headlines? Turn turtle? Pull in one's neck, legs and arms? Retreat into one's shell? Hide? It is one approach, and I'll admit I have embraced it from time to time. But sooner or later you have to come up for air, even if it's on fire.

Surfing is my sanctuary, but in the rest of my life I'm happy to stick my neck out.

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