Energy embodied in water

I was a surfer in a former life. Or I will become a surfer in a future life.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I do catch a glimpse of the eternal in water, especially in ocean waves. It’s a glimpse I’m trying to chase down and capture—if even just a drop—by writing fiction with water running through it as a symbol of love and connection.

Magazine on a desk
A photo of Surfer’s Journal that’s been hanging out on my desk for four years now, waiting for me to write the story that I’m finally getting to. “Skiing my pants off,” says a stickie note on the cover.

Watching “Unstoppable,” a film about surfer Bethany Hamilton, as I flew (in a commercial airliner) over the Midwest this weekend reminded me how much I love waves.

A wave is an entity, yet has no body. It’s energy embodied in water. It’s transient and powerful. It’s cheesy and profound: “Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water,” an Eastern philosopher whose name I did not catch is quoted as saying in the surf film Saltwater Buddha. “Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it.”

Right on.

And when I don’t feel like puzzling all of that out, a wave can be just plain beautiful. I could watch ocean or Great Lakes waves forever.

Waves in clear water hitting a beach
My home waves: Lake Huron in northeast Michigan. Photo by Kate Blackwood