I’m walking on the beach this cold brisk morning,
the bleached sea grass bending in the wind, when there,
up ahead, in the pewter waves, I see a surfer in his wet suit,
sleek as a seal, cutting in and out of the curl, shining in the light.
I’m on the far side of sixty, athletic as a sofa, but this is where
the longing starts, the yearning for another life, the one
where I’m lithe and long-limbed, tanned California bronze,
short tousled hair full of sunshine. The life where I shoulder my board,
stride into the waves, dive under the breakers, and rise; my head shaking
off water like a golden retriever. I am waiting for that perfect wave
so I can crouch up and catch it, my arms out like wings, slicing back
and forth in the froth, wind at my back, sea’s slick metal polished
before me. Nothing more important now than this balance between
water and air, the rhythm of in and out, staying ahead of the break,
choosing my line like I choose these words, writing my name
on water, writing my name on air.
“Surfer Girl” by Barbara Crooker, from More. © CR Press, 2010.
You really should hear this… I’ve been obsessed with it ever since hearing it on The Writer’s Almanac way back in August, 2014. Listen here.