April 2, 2013

Embracing Life

You've all heard of flash fiction. But what about flash non-fiction?

I watched a surf movie today and it took me back to those days when I surfed. I wanted to write a flash non-fiction piece, so here it is.


I step out onto the cold grit. The soles of my bare feet press into the forgiving sand and a calm washes over me. I know this piece of earth and it knows me. It’s my sanctuary. It’s my home.

Wind pushes against me, sending goose bumps all over my body. It tries to send me back to where I came from. But I won’t give into it. This is where I belong.

I shift my board under my arm to get a better grip, and walk forward.

The ocean roars as it sends another wave to the shore. The white water reflects in the last light of the lingering moon.
My toes dig deeper when I step onto wet sand. It’s like ice. Another flash of goose bumps cover my body.

The water pushes a layer of froth to my feet. The cold bites when it collides with my skin. I let out a puff of air and my muscles tense. It’s crazy cold. What was I thinking?

Out in the black ahead, another wave roars when it slams into itself. It’s taunting me. It knows I can’t resist it. I need it.

I take a deep breath and run into the water. Each step feels like glass. It's hard to breathe.

When I get knee deep, the water meets its match—my wetsuit. Now, it’s not nearly as bad. And the bottom half of my legs are already going numb.

I can totally do this.

I get waist deep and lay my board beside me. A dying wave of white water runs at me and shoves me back a few steps. I plant my feet, grip my board on both sides, and spring off the ocean floor. My body slides onto my board, landing in its spot.

Months of surfing have molded this board to me. There are tiny indents where my boobs lay when I paddle out, and there’s a larger impression where my butt sits when I’m waiting for a set. This board knows my curves better than any man ever has.

I dig my arms into the water and my board glides ahead, effortlessly.

The waves have stopped for a second. This means I have to push hard or I’ll get stuck paddling through a set. I know it’s bound to happen, but I’m not ready to eat salt just yet.

Every muscle in my body is being used, keeping me on the board and moving me through the water.

The water pulls below me. A wave is building just ahead. I have to get past it before it peaks.

I swim with all my strength, alternating my arms.

Faster. Harder. Don’t stop. Almost there.

My board slides over the hump and the wave charges out behind me.

I’m here. I made it to the other side.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly as I push up on my board and take my seat. My legs straddle my board and my feet swirl below in teeny circles to keep my balance. The show’s about to begin. I made it just in time.

Above me, thousands of stars have come to watch too. And I’m all too aware of the many things below that have shown up as well. But I can’t think about the dangers stalking underneath. I won’t let the fear of death keeping me from embracing life.

I beat death once. I still carry the invisible scars. But I’m stronger now. I’m free now. The chains that weighed me down were broken the day I defied death. It took nearly dying for me to learn how to live. But I understand life now. And that’s why I’m here.

A sliver of orange light peaks over the horizon.

A smile rises on my lips and I breathe deep.

Like a masterpiece being painted before my eyes, the horizon fills with yellows and oranges that grow into reds as the sun sneaks up into the sky. It’s so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.

It’s something no picture could ever capture because it’s not just the colors. There’s so much more. It’s all God’s instruments coming together in perfect harmony. The cold water that cradles me; the fresh, morning breeze that meets the salty sea and creates a smell no candle could ever contain; the seagulls that sing from the skies; the ocean that hums with its deep bass voice. They are all a part of this living masterpiece. And I’m a part of it as well.

Too quickly, the sun rises high, covering all the stars in a blanket of blue.

But that’s okay. It just means it’s time to go dance on the waves.

I close my eyes. Thank you, Lord for this beautiful day. Amen.

I grab the top of my board and whip it around to face the waves behind me.

This is living.

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