Waves of Happiness

by leahplotz

I lay down on the board, and pretend to take a nap. The waves have died down a bit, allowing for some playtime in the water. The small waves gently hit my board, just enough to rock me back and forth. There is a gentle, peaceful smile on my face. All I hear is the sound of the water, and waves in the distance washing up on shore. Marty is nearby, but perhaps in his own world, too.

After being surrounded by chaos and stressed-out city humans in the store for days, all I wanted was to get away from them. Please, no humans today, my soul begged of me. I wanted to hear nothing else but the sound of the ocean. I wanted to see no one but Marty, off in the distance catching a wave.


A quiet day at Bells, photo taken earlier in the year.

We have met some French tourists earlier in the morning thanks to Marty’s ability to make friends with absolutely anyone. He rivals my own reputation for it! Everywhere we go, I am practically pulling him away, interrupting his conversation in order to convey “cmon; lets get a move on!” That morning was no exception. They chatted about the south of France, about the weather conditions that morning, and about road-tripping Australia. I was quickly bored, looking forlornly out into the waves. Feeling as eager as I was to get away from the city, I tugged on his shirt and said “So, um, sorry to interrupt but, I wanna get out there.” “Ok, ok, see you guys later” he responded with a wide smile, adding sarcastically, “You act like you really wanna surf or something!”

My capabilities in this sport are minimal, but I have never done any sport in order to excel, let alone one to do with water! To me sports are about letting loose and having fun, and I am sure that was the original intention of them anyway, in the days where it was hard work and a hard life. I have had fun learning to feel waves, and sometimes I have the discipline enough to stand up. I learn a little more with each try. Mostly, though, it is just great to be out there, feeling a part of the Earth greater and bigger than I am.

I remember just before I was about to try surfing for the first time. I had mixed feelings whether or not to tell my family. My brother and brother-in-law, I knew, would not be happy. Of course, I could get swallowed whole by swimming knives, blue bottle jellyfish, or drop bears that prey on Midwestern girls. Admittedly, I did protest slightly when Marty even suggested it. “What if I don’t like it?” I asked wearily. “Aww, you’ll like it!” Marty replied matter-of-factually. After all, I was not born with an affinity to the sea. Growing up, I did not need to feel the harsh ocean winds against my face and feel the salt stick to my skin in order to be happy. Give me a forest, a freshwater lake, and a canoe. Now there’s happiness!

However, discovery is an ongoing human desire, is it not?? Whether it be through food and new recipes, through travel and new places, or music and new songs to learn. When we unearth a new part of our world, we open ourselves to more room to be happy. When we have a bigger platform on which to be happy, it becomes easier to find happiness, instead of a mystical illusion or a fleeting feeling. At least, that is what made sense to me anyway, as I lay on the board, waiting for the next succession of waves to come in.

When I really actually enjoyed being out in the ocean, it was much easier to embrace it. The waves became a playground instead of a terror zone. The city and humans became a distant memory, and time did not matter. As the morning grew late and more humans sought the same solace as I did, I got out reluctantly, but ready to face the city again with new energy.

Just don’t tell my brother or brother-in-law.