Tuesday, August 24, 2010

where life happens

someone asked me recently if newport was home. i thought about it for a minute or two, then replied 'yes...'
home is where your life happens. for many of the last 8 years (since i started surfing) i would sit around my portland home, always with a sense of anxiety... what was happening at the beach? was i missing something? i had projects to do: food to grow, boards to fix, paintings to paint... but somehow i was always having to divide my life between gardening, art, work, surfing.... and much of this divide involved driving my car for hours at a time, always going to and from the beaches, trying to find a balance between city life and beach life.
i wanted to move to the ocean, but was fraught with indecision-- the oregon coast seemed too rainy and cold, and why move, i thought, if not to a "perfect" location. i spent years searching for the ideal location. california is great, but insanely crowded, trafficky and expensive. hawaii is beautiful, but after 5 months there i had island fever so bad i thought i would crawl out of my own skin. i dreamed of central america, new zealand, etc, etc.
then, by chance, i was forced to move to the oregon coast this year. initially i resisted, my inner child kicking and screaming. i had two mortgages to pay in portland... i didn't have work at the coast... it was november and it was dark, cold, grey...
but there was surf! alot of it, and empty. the surfers, men and women, became my friends, and soon i realized that this was what i always wanted: good surf, good friends to share it with, and a wild environment relatively untouched by the masses. it was so obvious, i couldn't believe that i hadn't seen it before. in time, life works itself out. i still pay for my two portland homes, and now rent a tiny little hovel 1 block from the beach. i happily gave up my hardwood floors, old pdx architecture, late night sushi spots, wine bars, brewpubs, and other urban comforts for this simpler version of life. now i can surf every day. my New Yorker subscription was forwarded here... i still have a great coffee shop and good thai food. what else do i need? i keep up with the world on my own terms. everything else is just bonus time.
now, summer is ending, and fall is coming. the days are warm, sunny and lovely. we find each other here feeling autumn in the breeze: on the beaches and in the water we are making plans for winter. dinner parties, movie nights, surf trips.... the darkness is surely on the way, and we know that oregon winters are not for the weak. somehow, this adds to the appeal. we become galvanized. folks come, visit, then leave when the going gets rough. those of us who stay here know this. we are rewarded for our tenacity with all of this raw beauty, deep ocean, cold nights, clear mornings, fullness and emptiness... the crucible of our coastal lives.


Slim said...

Oh come on, the grass is always greener...especially at Whole Foods!

I'll see you in PDX December 2011!!

surf: karmic voyager said...

Cool... I'll be needing a floor to crash on and someone with a real job to take me out.

Anonymous said...

If surf is your main thang, PDX is not a healthy place to be. Took me almost 5 years to reprogram myself after moving here from a small N. CA coastal town where I surfed 200 plus days a year. That said, it aint that bad of a place to be a Dad, pursue a career, and raise a family. But without all that, I sure as hell wouldn’t be here.

PS- if you can, plan a surf trip in Jan or Feb. That's how I made it through my Oregon coast winter.