08/26/2021 3 By BuddyCushman

I lick my arm and it tastes like salt. I’m typing this in a damp bathing suit. These are good things. I’ve never used sunscreen, ever, and I’m brown as a Torey pine trunk and I have my first Doctor’s appointment in forever, and the first one down here in SoCal, tomorrow morning, and I guess I’ll begin to find out how things are, including all the funny things my skin’s been saying.

The other night, impulsively in the moment, though I’d been considering it for a couple of days, I bought a boogie board. Actually, the brand I wanted after doing some research those ‘considering days’, came in a two-pack, with way cool colors, and in the moment I hit “buy now” and the package came today, and I’m all salty and further reddened and water in my ears and up my nose because I was out there in the ocean at Moonlight Beach an hour ago, boogieing my little butt as best as a 72-year old rookie could. This rookie, anyway. It’s been a dream of mine my whole life to surf and this felt like a little step down the watery path of dreams. Plus, for years at Ocean Beach with my wife I watched seven and eight year old’s go flying past me on their boards, their faces lit up with joy and glee and push-it-real-good magic. And I wanted some of that and the clock ticks on and so I hit the “buy it” button and they came today and now ain’t no one can say I ain’t a boogie boarding fool.

Ironically, it was not my first time on a boogie board. Yesterday, after coffee with my new pal Anthony, I drove to the beach and found a space in the lot – I had my bathing suit on under my cargo shorts – and got out in the water and thanked the Great Spirit that this broken-hearted cat can find mystical solace in the Pacific Ocean. And right there was this couple with their two kids and they were all doing it and the parents caught a couple of rides at the cusp of pretty big breaking waves and shot right past me, and after the second time I went over and said I’m 72 and I’ve never done it but I have boards on order and time flies and I need to do it, so it was great seeing you have such fun. And about 10 seconds later the dad called out “hey” and he had two boards and said his wife was finished for the day and did I want to give it a try. Right now, this second, right in front of me as I type this, is a piece of paper with the Goethe saying, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid” which I’ve been holding onto since the middle of April. Here was more proof, and I said thank you so much and tried it four times and the last time I got a pretty good ride. I know I didn’t have that childhood gleam of amazement I’ve seen so often, but it was great.

And today I was out there quite a while and there were lots of waves, endlessly one right after another, and I screwed up and left too early and left too late and one time got my ass kicked big time. Yet there were those four or five times I went flying up on top of the Pacific, like a flying fish, and the best ride of all took me all the way from pretty far out to right up on the beach.

All I can do is say thank you to the Universe for its ongoing generosity and kindness for a damaged kid, me with a touch of boldness thrown in as spice, and so sure that grace is a thing. Oh yeah, on two of those wave-energized rides through the shallow ocean, I was out there howling in delight. I heard me.