Few of my friends live by the words they write.
Many of them, however, support themselves and their families through painting, photos and videos.
They see words as little more than symbols used to describe their work.
They often hurl the cliché, “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” While the irony that they need words, seven of them to be exact, to make their point is generally lost on them, they always react to my retort that, “A word is worth a thousand pictures … if it’s the right word.”
Once, after some unprintable words were exchanged, and our war of words had died down, my opponent and talented painter friend Wade Koniakowsky and I concluded that all either of us ever did was try, unsuccessfully, to describe a natural phenomena known as a wave.
Much as elegant ocean waves are created by great winds, so our bellowing had created a peaceful ripple of understanding.
Some of the best of this natural art is found in Fiji, Tahiti and Indonesia while much of it can be located closer to home.
I have chased waves from the tip of Baja, up into Canada, through several Hawaiian Islands, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Guam. Compared to many surfers, I have barely creased the surface, or seen the ocean at its best.
While that is no doubt true, I still have recollections of endless sets of waves peeling around Rincon Point, into Honolua Bay, Scorpion Bay, and breaking on local reefs and sandbars from Seaside to Swami’s.
In my opinion waves are an art only exceeded in majesty of childbirth.
Even as I write this, the art many of us have surrendered our lives to is making brief appearances on shores around the world, sometimes unseen and generally without any credit offered to the greatest of all artists.
If you are a surfer this might cause you some anxiety as you peer into another day of tiny waves in North County. But as small as the waves have been, no art gallery in the world has ever displayed anything close to them.
They especially fall short in comparison to a sky-blue two-way peak, a transparent point wave sweeping down a quarter-mile-long white sand point, a mirror glassy beach break, or an ocean combed clean by offshore winds.
For those among us who have found sanctuary in a wave’s hollows, you know there is no more majestic view on earth.
While there may come a time in life when I can no longer paddle out and enjoy riding waves, I will still sit in wonder and watch the miracle of a wave standing tall after traveling a thousand miles to explode joyfully before disappearing forever in the sand. Try as we may our words and brush strokes are, at best, reflections in a broken mirror.