Thursday, January 07, 2010

A pocket full of sand, a sea full of memories

Happy birthday to me. It has been grand. I spent it in La Playa El Tunco just a bit away from La Libertad. It was spent sitting in a hammock over the mangrove swamps. The mangrove vines reflected in the water and shimmered with ripples of the lake. An Israeli played classical spanish guitar as a birthday gift for me. Sandoval. Perfect. El Cid never had it so good.

I decided to hold off on the surfing until manaña and just bask in the sun and surf for the day. I walked along the beach that reminded me of Vagator in Goa, sans the cashew liquor, rocky heights and cows on the beach.
Anjuna and Vagator (Goa)

Everwhere reminds me of somewhere. The returning tides drew veins in the soft sands as I walked in water warmer than any recent shower I have taken. I sat under the sol with a yellow parasol decked out in "sol" insignias in a restaurant called Kayu, where my feet didn`t leave the sands.

I bought some new bling as a birthday gift for moi. Snails, shells and shark. Un regalo para recordar. I chatted with Daniel, a professor of surf, who gave me two grand lines.

"La vida es linda hay que vivirla."

"El que al mundo vino a tomar vino, y si no tomo vino, a que puto vino."

Life was perfect in Kayu. Waved crashed with a gentle break as the breeze came and went with blue flags fluttering in the wind. Burgers, beer and Manu Chao. "This world go crazy, it´s an insanity," sang Manu Chao through a Marleyan muse. Que hora son en Washington?

The professor of surf brought me two salvadoreñas but 16 is 16 and 30 is 30. Dos besos por un cumple.

Birds flew by in formations. Rows like dominoes.

I waded out into the gentle pacific and swam with the afternoon breaktide. I was buouyed by the bouyanacy of waves and the poignancy of memories. I swam in and out of the waves and into the silence of the sea, diving under the crashing crests and carried by their grace towards the setting sun.

On the beach of dreams, waves lapped against me, carrying me forth through a sea of memories. Of a little boy running naked in the sands of the Virgin Islands. Of a child playing in the cold Rehoboth waves with his father and little sister. Of a school boy sitting on the white sands of Cape Henlopen as the blistering winds whirled about. Of a young man watching the sun rise over the mediterranean as sickly sweet baklava oozed in his fingers. Of a student studying abroad, sitting on the yellow sands Agadir as the Kaiser`s fleet lay off the coast of history. Of a wanderer drinking chai in the cool sands of the Bay of Bengal. I thought of the words of a fellow Cap who just celebrated his birthday a fortnight prior:

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
-Isaac Newton (2 Train Brooklyn to Manhattan, "Train of Thought")

The years carried like the waves, the days passing like sand in the surf. In the sands of the rolling waves, I remembered. I swam in and out of the pacific waves as the sun set gently in the west. I floated as only one can nestled in the peace of the pacific, embraced by the sea of time. I sat in the black sandy surf, skipping smooth black rocks in the white waves. The sounds of the waves crashing filled my head with decadent memories.

I am thirty and I am sanguine. Sublimely content with where I sit and I stand. I heard the poetic words of Hannah Szenes over and over in my head:
"Oh Lord, my God
I pray that these days never end
the sand and the sea
the rush of the waters
the crash of the heavens
the prayer of man"

On the beach of dreams, the sun set in orange brilliance, with peach decadence and a pink aftertaste. It all ended golden across the long sky. Old man time and I swapped stories and whistled at pretty memories walking past. An unforgettable thirty passed with the evening tides but the great wave still waits.

"Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory."
Joseph Conrad, "Lord Jim"

PS: Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy 30th in email and on facebook. It really meant a lot to this old man. I want to wish one person a happy birthday as well. My cousin Jeff is also 30 today, I am a mere few hours older than he. Happy Birthday Jeff! (and Jayson Milner and Jesus by Eastern calendars.)


Yael Swerdlow said...

Reading you always gives me chills, but never more so than this post. I wish you a most heartfelt happy birthday with the best yet to come, secure in the knowledge that the gifts you bring to everyone's existence are the memories we get to create with you.

Lots of love,

P.S. Now I am taking myself out for burgers and a beer to toast you.

Paul Rockower said...

Estoy muy feliz que disfrutas! I enjoyed the day and the time spent pondering and writing it. As always, i am moved by your words and look forward to my return when we can go out for burgers and beers.