The world is busy. It never stops. The faces rush past you on the street and look right through you. It’s the same in the surf, on the beaches. In the old days everyone knew everyone – the world’s too populated for that now. People stick to their cliques in the water, ignore you as you paddle past unless you might be catching their wave or they yours.
But it’s Christmas, and there’s something special about early Christmas mornings, no matter if you celebrate it or not.
Last night I slept in the van at my folks house – I’d had a few too many proseccos and the full moon was low and full of brandy on the horizon, shone through the mosquito netting and diffracted across the bed. The possums were narky at each other in the gum trees and a night bird I didn’t know shouted at elves carolling on the next block over. I itched all over – the mosquitos hadn’t heard that netting was barrier for them or perhpas I just was bitten when I went out for a midnight pee. Or maybe I heard my nephews wake up four streets over – they were up rustling presents under the Christmas tree at 4.45 am, the time I awoke. I know there’s little point to keep trying to sleep – my brain rattles around too much and I get full of excitement too.
The last seven Christmases I’ve surfed on Christmas Day.
This is acceptable in my family because we’ve mostly all been surfers, and my mum’s pretty tolerant of that as she knows the joy it brings us. A quick surf, then home for Santas, she says, and we’re off, still full of trifle from the Christmas pudding the night before. This morning is different – Dad’s still to sick too surf and my man and my boy are in England. So it’s me all on my own. This would seem kinda sad but there’s something meditative about it. The silence and peace seems like a gift I hold to my heart and squeeze like a baby bird. I need some stillness in my life – everything’s always speaking, always in terrific motion.
So I catch the sun up at Point Addis, watch it glow and greet the silent world. There’s less cars in the carpark – well, none when I first get there. It’s what I love most about surfing on Christmas day – there’s no one around. A young couple pull up in a van and an old guy on a mal I’ve seen out there before. We nod and greet each other Merry Christmas – it seems that whilst many of us don’t believe in Christ and the reasons for this day, we still understand that it’s a time where you can at least smile at strangers and feel blessed to be in the world at all. As if there is a stronger force looking down on us. That sun, perhaps, as it comes wetly out of the sea, and the moon that sets over the cliffs, no longer the orange ball of fire but a pale and tired thing that is happy to sleep and let the sun take over.
There’s left over swell from yesterday, and whilst the sets are few and far between, occasionally a bigger one comes through. In each set there’s only one or two good waves, and though the usual game would normally begin, involving paddling like fuck to get around someone to get on the wave first or making eye contact to see if they are going to paddle, on this day it’s different. Five strangers hoot and call each other onto the waves – there’s the couple, Alan the mal rider (I learn his name on the walk down to the beach as we muse on the merits of Christmas surfs), another woman on a mini mal and me on the paddle board. Two or three waves three of us ride together – I take off as far inside as I can as I can paddle the fastest, and the goofy footer pixie slip of a thing stumbles to her feet in front of me, Alan way on the shoulder.
There’s one really good mal rider out there, cross footing his way across the board. The sun backlights him up as I paddle back out and he hangs ten, deft and sure. He keeps calling us onto waves – doesn’t care to get everyone himself, wants us girls to have a go. The girls talk about how good it is to surf Addis because it’s the one place they can surf without too much hassle. In the long wait between sets I sit down on my SUP with them and chat. I never get a chance to talk to the girls out there – I’m different with my SUP and a bit older. Someone said the other day that they’re probably intimidated by me – I thought they were just being biatches, but then it stands to reason. I’ve been doing it alot longer than them and perhaps I don’t appear friendly as I paddle past. This morning it’s different though – we talk about where we’re from, they ask about whether it’s hard to learn to SUP and if the paddle gets in the way (it never does – it’s kinda an extension of me, another arm – I instinctively strike it into the face to stall, glide it through the water to speed up) and I talk to them about growing up on this coast. We joke and laugh and hoot each other onto waves and laugh as we all fake ‘grunt’ to get on them. We’re all grinning like mad – total strangers enjoying a Christmas morning together, unfettered by the usual social conventions that have us in our own bubbles.
I love people, you see. I like silence and I’m awkward in social situations and I get overstimulated and withdraw into my turtle shell and don’t want to speak to anyone, but I do love people. And I wanted to acknowledge the people here that I love so, who’ve been so darn nice to me all year and ended up pretty solid friends. Who knows, I could pass you on the street and we might not even look at each other or smile. But getting to know you all makes me realise there’s some pretty darn awesome people in the world and it’s worth smiling at everyone you walk past, because most of them are probably just like us Steemfolk, wanting to engage and connect with each other, millions of potential friends in the cryptosphere with a shit-ton to offer.
I am so grateful for your wisdom, your smiles, your humour and your willingness to help when I need it. I’m so grateful that you read my posts and comment, and share things that make me get to know you a bit more or make me remember every single darn day what creative, clever, freaking awesome people are in the world. I’m going to miss you whilst I’m away from Steemit for a few weeks, I really will! Thankyou so much for being you. Thankyou so much for everything you do. I love you all tremendously.
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, the sentiment today is one of peace and love and gratitude, and I wish each and every one of you a really beautiful day, where-ever you are in the world.
#In particular I’d like to thank my girl power homies @mountainjewel (thanks for the hilarious Discord chats and vent sessions when things here have driven us to despair), @walkerland (who seems to have a parellel life to mine, of sorts), @eaglespirit, @thetreeoflife, @artemislives, @trucklife-family, @porters, @immarojas. Honest to god we are strong sisters here! There’s other beautiful woman too that always seem to drop in and say hi – @goldenoakfarm in particular always makes an effort to comment, and there’s others I’d love to get to know more like @allyinspirit and @sallybeth23. And then there’s others that have been an ABSOLUTE part of my journey here and I couldn’t imagine Steemit without checking in with them – @alchemage, @mrprofessor, @nateonsteemit, @sagescrub, @yestermorrow, @metametheus, @eco-alex, @senorcoconut, @digitaldan – oh my god there really are too many of you to name! Funny, witty, intelligent, kind and just generally awesome, you guys have totally made my year, and I’m looking forward to another year on Steemit with you all, once I’ve given my brain and my typing fingers a bit of a rest!