Surfing Waves Quotes

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You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
You never really know what's coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity.
Alysha Speer
A Dream Within A Dream Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow- You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep- while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
If we remain rooted in our integrity and envision life in its intense, original beauty, we can create an authentic mindset allowing us to surf freely on the waves of our aspirations. ("Into a new life")
Erik Pevernagie
Life is a lot like surfing… When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.
Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board)
Life comes at us in waves. We can't predict or control those waves, but we can learn to surf
Dan Millman
We may like to combat disease or even want to cure death. We may try to surf on the waves of infinity and attempt to kill mortality. Nobody, though, ever recovers from the lethal illness. In the meantime, we’d better unlock temporal moments that deliver touches of eternity. They, for sure, never disappoint. (" Living on probation")
Erik Pevernagie
I've learned life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone, you need to get right back up, because you never know what's over the next wave......and if you have faith, anything is possible, anything at all.
Soul Surfer
Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.
Jonatan Mårtensson
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are)
Surfing?” he asked. She laughed, and the sound sent a shock wave through the water. The wailing faded to background noise. Annabeth wondered if anyone had ever laughed in Tartarus before—just a pure, simple laugh of pleasure. She doubted it.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
The vast open sea at night is a song being written; a rhyme, a mysterious and gentle arpeggiated work of Beethoven. It's sung by the waves as they travel on the face of the ocean, and their lyrics are the rhythm of the pounding surf.
Giselle V. Steele (Rivers Never Fill The Sea)
You can't stop the waves but you can learn how to surf.
Muktananda
What would you study, Percy?” “Dunno,” he admitted. “Marine science,” she suggested. “Oceanography?” “Surfing?” he asked. She laughed, and the sound sent a shock wave through the water. The wailing faded to background noise. Annabeth wondered if anyone had ever laughed in Tartarus before—just a pure, simple laugh of pleasure. She doubted it.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
If Reed wasn’t planning on meeting me at the beach, I’d be rolling around naked in this bed with you in a heartbeat. I love surfing, but—” his gaze wandered over the thin sheet covering her body before he met her eyes again “—no wave could ever compete with you.
Lisa Kessler (Legend of Love (Muse Chronicles, #2))
I don’t know where old girl found a bikini that big, but she’s got maximum Don’t Give A Fuck mode engaged, and I’m surfing on her bitch wave.
N.K. Jemisin (The City We Became (Great Cities, #1))
Writing a book is a bit like surfing," he said. "Most of the time you're waiting. And it's quite pleasant, sitting in the water waiting. But you are expecting that the result of a storm over the horizon, in another time zone, usually, days old, will radiate out in the form of waves. And eventually, when they show up, you turn around and ride that energy to the shore. It's a lovely thing, feeling that momentum. If you're lucky, it's also about grace. As a writer, you roll up to the desk every day, and then you sit there, waiting, in the hope that something will come over the horizon. And then you turn around and ride it, in the form of a story.
Tim Winton
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep- while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allan Poe
Kabat-Zinn writes, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier. Maybe I should have called this book Surf Your Life. The cover could feature a picture of me on a giant wave wearing a wizard hat. I wonder if it’s too late. I’ll make a call.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
Keanu Reeves
In business, technology is a wave that you just have to surf. Businesses either surf the wave, or they drown in it.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
It was, once again, a glorious wave, with hues in its depths so intense they felt like first editions—ocean colors never seen before, made solely for this wave, this moment, perhaps never to be seen again.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
In a recent interview, he compared himself to surfers: “What are they doing this for? It’s just pure. You’re alone. That wave is so much bigger and stronger than you. You’re always outnumbered. They always can crush you. And yet you’re going to accept that and turn it into a little, brief, meaningless art form.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
For me the experience of writing is really an experience of losing control.… I think it’s very much like dreaming or like surfing. You go out there and wait for a wave, and when it comes it takes you somewhere and you don’t know where it’ll go.
Margaret Atwood
If you're having a bad day, catch a wave.
Frosty Hesson
Yoo Joonghyuk then powerfully threw Kim Dokja forward, but also stepped onto the latter's back – and they began scything past the storm as if he was surfing the waves.
Singshong (싱숑)
I always thought it was a question of achieving some permanent state of tranquillity ... but it's not. It's more like learning to surf. The waves keep rolling in, each different from the last, and you have to ride them, instead of getting pounded to bits.
Lisa Alther (Other Women)
I've learned life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone,you need to get right back up, because you never know what's over the next wave... and if you have faith, anything is possible, anything at all.
Bethany Hamilton
Everyone is simply riding the wave chance has put them on. Some people know how to surf; some people drown.
Louis Menand (The Metaphysical Club : A Story of Ideas in America)
Feelings are much like waves. We can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.
Jonatan Mårtensson
The silences here are retreats of sound, like the retreat of the surf before a tidal wave: sound draining away, down slopes of acoustic passage, to gather, someplace else, to a great surge of noise.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow)
In a moment I might be under the wave swallowing seawater and small jellyfish, but right now I am an ancient princess of Hawaii, I am a bikini model, I am a goddess before the crest of a monster billow.
Wilma Johnson (Surf Mama - One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave)
The river and its waves are one surf: where is the difference between the river and its waves? When the wave rises, it is the water; and when it falls, it is the same water again. Tell me, Sir, where is the distinction? Because it has been named as wave, shall it no longer be considered as water? Within the Supreme Brahma, the worlds are being told like beads: Look upon that rosary with the eyes of wisdom.
Kabir (One Hundred Poems of Kabir)
There were nights when I left the sessions physically and emotionally drained after hearing the anguish pour out like blood from a gaping wound. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different – psychotherapy is one of the most taxing endeavors known to mankind; I’ve done all sorts of work, from picking carrots in the scorching sun to sitting on national committees in paneled board rooms, and there’s nothing that compares to confronting human misery hour after hour and bearing the responsibility for easing that misery using only one’s mind and mouth. At its best it’s tremendously uplifting as you watch the patient open up, breathe, let go of the pain. At its worst is like surfing in a cesspool struggling for balance while being slapped with wave after putrid wave.
Jonathan Kellerman (When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1))
soulsThat we might break these molds And free our restless souls Start to believe That we can rise above Our pettiness and love Like we ain't loved before Free on this earth As the surf that rolls And crashes on the shore And hey now don't run and hide Your little heart away If it's gone We'll sure never find it Pining for lost innocence Tantalisingly I saw Our shadows moving through the door Traces from a different time When I was yours and you were truly mine All mine
David Gray
Living in L.A., you couldn't help picking up tidbits of the surf culture, almost through osmosis... it was in the air, like vitamin D and the odd Brad Pitt sighting.
Ophelia London (Making Waves (Perfect Kisses, #3.5))
4. On the first night of our honeymoon we lie in bed, too exhausted for sex or conversation. Instead, we listen to the surf, wave after wave after wave.
Sherman Alexie
In our lives, we surf the wave of chance.
Roger Ebert
Often in the waves of change, we discover our true direction.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Waves are like women, you can never get enough of them, always want a better, more dangerous one, and occasionally you get dumped.
Robert Black
Turns out I don't need someone holding my board and pushing me into the wave - I can do it myself. Several times as, as I ride the wave, I have that glorious, blissful feeling... like I'm flying. It's even better than the feeling I had the day Gabe took me surfing. Because it taught me that Gabriel Gerard isn't the only one who can make magic. I can make magic too.
Sally Hepworth (The Soulmate)
Some lessons you learn gradually and some you learn in a sudden moment, like a flash going off in a dark room. I sift and rake and dig around in my vivid recollections of young Sean on the floor in summer, and I try to see what makes him tick, but I know a secret about young Sean, I guess, that he kind of ends up telling the world: nothing makes him tick. It just happens all by itself, tick tick tick tick tick, without any proximal cause, with nothing underneath it. He is like a jellyfish adrift in the sea, throbbing quietly in the warm waves of the surf just off the highway where the dusty white vans with smoked windows and indistinct decals near their wheel hubs roll innocently past.
John Darnielle (Wolf in White Van)
So I'm biding my time, like a surfer waiting for a wave. I'm pretty good at surfing, as it happens, and I know the wave will come. When the moment is right, I'll get Demeter's attention. She'll look at my stuff, everything will click, and I'll start riding my life. Not paddling, paddling, paddling, like I am right now.
Sophie Kinsella (My Not So Perfect Life)
Walking causes a repetitive, spontaneous poetry to rise naturally to the lips, words as simple as the sound of footsteps on the road. There also seems to be an echo of walking in the practice of two choruses singing a psalm in alternate verses, each on a single note, a practice that makes it possible to chant and listen by turns. Its main effect is one of repetition and alternation that St Ambrose compared to the sound of the sea: when a gentle surf is breaking quietly on the shore the regularity of the sound doesn’t break the silence, but structures it and renders it audible. Psalmody in the same way, in the to-and-fro of alternating responses, produces (Ambrose said) a happy tranquillity in the soul. The echoing chants, the ebb and flow of waves recall the alternating movement of walking legs: not to shatter but to make the world’s presence palpable and keep time with it. And just as Claudel said that sound renders silence accessible and useful, it ought to be said that walking renders presence accessible and useful.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
This is what I mean by quitting surfing. When you surf, as I then understood it, you live and breathe waves. You always know what the surf is doing. You cut school, lose jobs, lose girlfriends, if it’s good.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
Like the body craves oxygen, the mind is desperate for certainty. It believes that without a safe foothold on reality, it will die. But the fascinating thing is that the illusion of certainty is exactly the opposite of safety because it hardens and narrows the vision to make everything fit its own scope. Then when new information arrives which would be its ally, the mind pushes it away in favor of the leaky life raft to which it clings, sinking all the while beneath the waves of change. In fact, the only antidote for this is to embrace 'I don’t know' so deeply that a powerful, dynamic safety emerges. This is like learning to surf so well that a tsunami wave shows up as a challenge to test our mastery.
Jacob Nordby
There comes a time in the life of a sailor when he no longer belongs ashore. It's then that he surrenders to the Pacific, where no land blocks the eye, where sky and ocean mirror each other until above and below have lost their meaning, and the Milky Way looks like the spume of a breaking wave and the globe itself rolls like a boat in the midst of the sinking and heaving surf of that starry sky, and even the sun is nothing but a tiny glowing dot of phosphorescence on the sea of the night.
Carsten Jensen (We, the Drowned)
She was very easy to please, because she took joy in the smallest things, but exacting, too, because that small thing must be authentic, and wondrous in its small self, and not any kind of bullshit. She could detect bullshit from a hillside away. But then she took people at face value and expected the best of them until proven otherwise.
Peter Heller (Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave)
Flying Is that what it’s like when you die? Do you slip out of your skin, go soaring up into a butterscotch sky? Do you surf waves of light? How far? How high? I hope that’s what it’s like, but I’m afraid it’s a lot more like falling with no net to catch you, and no way of knowing how hard you will hit or where you’ll stop. Will you touch down back on Earth, or will you land in the nightmare you always feared you’d never wake up from?
Ellen Hopkins (Tricks)
Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf. —Jonatan Mårtensson
Craig Groeschel (Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most)
You Can’t Stop the Waves but You Can Learn to Surf
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life)
I love surfing, but ---" his gaze wandered over the thin sheet covering her body before he met her eyes again " --- no wave could ever compete with you.
Lisa Kessler (Legend of Love (Muse Chronicles, #2))
Live life, one wave at a time.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
The brainwaves we send out are the only ones others will surf back to our shores.‬
Curtis Tyrone Jones
‪Repel people in your mind and you’ll repel them in your life. See others as above you in your mind and you’ll be below them in your life. Love people in your mind and connect with them in life. The brainwaves we send out are the only ones others will surf back to our shores.‬
Curtis Tyrone Jones
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep- while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream? ― A Dream Within a Dream.
Edgar Allan Poe
There are times when surfing where you'll take on a wave only to realize the bottom's dropped out of it and so suddenly without warning you're free-falling down the entire face. It feels like this.
Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You the Sun)
The sea is a memory. It is mesmerising. Its beauty is intolerable. What it buries is vaster than what it reveals. Every so often you get a glimpse of what you forget, or you wade in and something snags you, a broken shell or a sea urchin the fishermen missed...No waves speak with the same voice, though they share the same elements and motion, the regular beating of the surf, their rippling heaves.
Gina Apostol (Insurrecto)
Tide and time wait for no man.’ So get on your surfboard and catch that wave, even if you’re shaking like a rattle all the way in, because I’m yet to be reliably informed if there’s decent surf in heaven.
Sophie Cousens (Just Haven't Met You Yet)
alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves . . . mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business . . . trillions apart . . . yet forming white surf in unison. Ages on ages . . . before any eyes could see . . . year after year . . . thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? . . . on a dead planet, with no life to entertain. Never at rest . . . tortured by energy . . . wasted prodigiously by the sun . . . poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar. Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves . . . and a new dance starts. Growing in size and complexity . . . living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein . . . dancing a pattern ever more intricate. Out of the cradle onto the dry land . . . here it is standing . . . atoms with consciousness . . . matter with curiosity. Stands at the sea . . . wonders at wondering . . . I . . . a universe
Richard P. Feynman (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman)
The trick is to ride the wave, Fast, wide-open and in deep Now-magic. Free, burning fear for fuel Generous, knowing there is always more where that came from. Cresting, spray of liquid jewels hanging, shining in the sun and wind. Flying down the wave in graceful slices. Rolling, tumbling under, over Breathless falling, floating into the deep dark beneath. Rising, face breaks the surface Laughing Kneeling, standing Riding again. Sunset waits behind the horizon But daylight begs us to swim Out beyond Where our feet can’t touch bottom. Into the deep wild Where the next wave can sweep us higher, Show us what else is possible In this marvelous place.
Jacob Nordby
up in Pacific Grove, a coastal town on the Monterey Peninsula in California, I had spent many Sunday mornings combing beaches, hunting for sea glass. I once believed the surf-tumbled glass had come from mermaids when the mythical creatures wept for sailors lost at sea, their tears hardened and washed ashore by the latest storm front. Mermaid tears were treasure, meant to be guarded close to one’s heart. They brought wishes of true love and kept you safe
Kerry Lonsdale (All the Breaking Waves)
At some point in the night she had a dream. Or it was possible that she was partially awake, and was only remembering a dream? She was alone among the rocks on a dark coast beside the sea. The water surged upward and fell back languidly, and in the distance she heard surf breaking slowly on a sandy shore. It was comforting to be this close to the surface of the ocean and gaze at the intimate nocturnal details of its swelling and ebbing. And as she listened to the faraway breakers rolling up onto the beach, she became aware of another sound entwined with the intermittent crash of waves: a vast horizontal whisper across the bossom of the sea, carrying an ever-repeated phrase, regular as a lighthouse flashing: Dawn will be breaking soon. She listened a long time: again and again the scarcely audible words were whispered across the moving water. A great weight was being lifted slowly from her; little by little her happiness became more complete, and she awoke. Then she lay for a few minutes marveling the dream, and once again fell asleep.
Paul Bowles (Up Above the World)
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep- while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?” ― A Dream Within a Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
Charting is a little like surfing. You don’t have to know a lot about the physics of tides, resonance, and fluid dynamics in order to catch a good wave. You just have to be able to sense when it’s happening and then have the drive to act at the right time.
Jack D. Schwager (Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders (Wiley Trading Book 73))
I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its moods now. The attachment felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops. I was getting more hardheaded. Now I knew they originated in distant storms, which moved, as it were, upon the face of the deep. But my utter absorption in surfing had no rational content. It simply compelled me; there was a deep mine of beauty and wonder in it. Beyond that, I could not have explained why I did it. I knew vaguely that it filled a psychic cavity of some kind—connected, perhaps, with leaving the church, or with, more likely, the slow drift away from my family—and that it had replaced many things that came before it. I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
Lex surfed wicked, like the devil. He wasn’t afraid of anything, seemed like. He grinned at West as the waves came up toward them like towers of green glass, an emerald city. We’re off to see the wizard, he shouted. He whooped. His body crouched ready to fly. He shone against the sun.
Francesca Lia Block (Wasteland)
Flotsam said, “He thinks I shouldn’t do surfboard self-defense on four squids that flip us off and stole my juices when I was rippin’. They thought it was cooleo till one of them caught my log upside his head when I snaked him on the next wave.” “What?” Ronnie said. “All I said was,” Jetsam said to Flotsam, “You should cap the little surf Nazi if you wanna turn him into part of the food chain, not torpedo him till he’s almost dead in the foamy.
Joseph Wambaugh (Hollywood Crows (Hollywood Station, #2))
bitch that I am, vicious, scheming- horror to freeze the heart oh how I wish that first day my mother brought me into the light some black whirlwind had rushed me out to the mountains or into the surf where the roaring breakers crash and drag and the waves had swept me off before all this had happened
Homer
Picture a guy; he’s been surfing all day, the sun’s going down, and he grabs his guitar which he then carries to his favourite place where the waves crash against the rocks. And he just sits there, watching the sunset and composing songs with his guitar. Now, how ‘off tha rip’ is a surfer / musician like this?
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
An all-swallowing wave, not unlike a surf comber on a beach, was rushing up the boat deck, enveloping passengers, boats, and everything that lay in its path,” he wrote. A mass wail rose from those it engulfed. “All the despair, terror and anguish of hundreds of souls passing into eternity composed that awful cry.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
As she'd hoped, the two of them were the sole occupants of this stretch of windswept beach. Sipping the steaming liquid, she let the familiar peace seep into her soul. The cerulean water sparkled in the morning sun, as if sprinkled with diamonds, and she drew in a cleansing breath of the tangy salt air. She watched a sandpiper play tag with the surf. Listed to the caw of a gull high overhead and the muted thunder of the breaking waves. Felt the breeze caress her cheek.
Irene Hannon (The Hero Next Door (Lighthouse Lane #2))
The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization. Robinson Crusoe, Endless Summer. This was a track that led away from citizenship, in the ancients sense of the word, toward a scratched-out frontier where we would live as latter-day barbarians. It went deeper that that. Chasing waves in a dedicated way was both profoundly egocentric and selfless, dynamic and ascetic, radical in its rejection of the values of duty and conventional achievement.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Spring had come early that year, with warm quick rains and sudden frothing of pink peach blossoms and dogwood dappling with white stars the dark river swamp and far-off hills. Already the plowing was nearly finished, and the bloody glory of the sunset colored the fresh-cut furrows of red Georgia clay to even redder hues. The moist hungry earth, waiting upturned for the cotton seeds, showed pinkish on the sandy tops of furrows, vermilion and scarlet and maroon where shadows lay along the sides of the trenches. The whitewashed brick plantation house seemed an island set in a wild red sea, a sea of spiraling, curving, crescent billows petrified suddenly at the moment when the pink-tipped waves were breaking into surf. For here were no long, straight furrows, such as could be seen in the yellow clay fields of the flat middle Georgia country or in the lush black earth of the coastal plantations. The rolling foothill country of north Georgia was plowed in a million curves to keep the rich earth from washing down into the river bottoms. It was a savagely red land, blood-colored after rains, brick dust in droughts, the best cotton land in the world. It was a pleasant land of white houses, peaceful plowed fields and sluggish yellow rivers, but a land of contrasts, of brightest sun glare and densest shade. The plantation clearings and miles of cotton fields smiled up to a warm sun, placid, complacent. At their edges rose the virgin forests, dark and cool even in the hottest noons, mysterious, a little sinister, the soughing pines seeming to wait with an age-old patience, to threaten with soft sighs: "Be careful! Be careful! We had you once. We can take you back again.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of golden sand— How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep While I weep— while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
Edgar Allan Poe
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? I change my physiology. If I am near waves, I go surf them. If not, a short, intense kettlebell workout, a bike ride, a swim, a cold shower or ice plunge, Wim Hof or heart rate variability breathing [see Adam Robinson, for a description]. It’s remarkable how the mind follows the body.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe Of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
Surfers have a perfection fetish. The perfect wave, etcetera. There is no such thing. Waves are not stationary objects in nature like roses or diamonds. They’re quick, violent events at the end of a long chain of storm action and ocean reaction. Even the most symmetrical breaks have quirks and a totally specific, local character, changing with every shift in tide and wind and swell.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
For most surfers, I think—for me, certainly—waves have a spooky duality. When you are absorbed in surfing them, they seem alive. They each have personalities, distinct and intricate, and quickly changing moods, to which you must react in the most intuitive, almost intimate way—too many people have likened riding waves to making love. And yet waves are of course not alive, not sentient, and the lover you reach to embrace may turn murderous without warning. It’s nothing personal. That self-disemboweling death wave on the inside bar is not bloody-minded. Thinking so is just reflex anthropomorphism. Wave love is a one-way street.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here? But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
And the wave of tenderness and pity that at once filled his heart was not the stirring of the soul that leads the son to the memory of the vanished father, but the overwhelming compassion that a grown man feels for an unjustly murdered child – something here was not in the natural order and, in truth, there was no order but only madness and chaos when the son was older than the father. The course of time itself was shattering around him while he remained motionless among those tombs he now no longer saw, and the years no longer kept to their places in the great river that flows to its end. They were no more than waves and surf and eddies where Jacques Cormery was not struggling in the grip of anguish and pity. He looked at the other inscriptions in that section and realized from the dates that this soil was strewn with children who had been the fathers of graying men who thought they were living in this present time. For he too believed he was living, he alone had created himself, he knew his own strength, his vigor, he could cope and he had himself well in hand. But, in the strange dizziness of that moment, the statue every man eventually erects and that hardens in the fire of the years, into which he then creeps and there awaits its final crumbling – that statue was rapidly cracking, it was already collapsing. All that was left was this anguished heart, eager to live, rebelling against the deadly order of the world that had been with him for forty years, and still struggling against the wall that separated him from the secret of all life, wanting to go farther, to go beyond, and to discover, discover before dying, discover at last in order to be, just once to be, for a single second, but forever.
Albert Camus (The First Man)
A nautilus shell. I've never found one before." It was a nice big one, a rare find, not too damaged by the battering waves. Alex couldn't know it, but it was Mamma's favorite kind of shell. The nautilus is a symbol of harmony and peace, she used to say. "You can have it if you want," he said, holding the shell out to her. "No. You found it." Rosa kept her hands at her sides even though she wanted it desperately. "I'm not good at keeping things." He wound up as if to throw it back into the surf. "Don't! If you're not going to keep it, I will," Rosa said, grabbing it from him. "I wasn't really going to throw it away," he said. "I just wanted you to have it.
Susan Wiggs (Summer by the Sea)
Then the voice - which identified itself as the prince of this world, the only being who really knows what happens on Earth - began to show him the people around him on the beach. The wonderful father who was busy packing things up and helping his children put on some warm clothes and who would love to have an affair with his secretary, but was terrified on his wife's response. His wife who would like to work and have her independence, but who was terrified of her husband's response. The children who behave themselves because they were terrified of being punished. The girl who was reading a book all on her own beneath the sunshade, pretending she didn't care, but inside was terrified of spending the rest of her life alone. The boy running around with a tennis racuqet , terrified of having to live up to his parents' expectations. The waiter serving tropical drinks to the rich customers and terrified that he could be sacket at any moment. The young girl who wanted to be a dance, but who was studying law instead because she was terrified of what the neighbours might say. The old man who didn't smoke or drink and said he felt much better for it, when in truth it was the terror of death what whispered in his ears like the wind. The married couple who ran by, splashing through the surf, with a smile on their face but with a terror in their hearts telling them that they would soon be old, boring and useless. The man with the suntan who swept up in his launch in front of everybody and waved and smiled, but was terrified because he could lose all his money from one moment to the next. The hotel owner, watching the whole idyllic scene from his office, trying to keep everyone happy and cheerful, urging his accountants to ever greater vigilance, and terrified because he knew that however honest he was government officials would still find mistakes in his accounts if they wanted to. There was terror in each and every one of the people on that beautiful beach and on that breathtakingly beautiful evening. Terror of being alone, terror of the darkness filling their imaginations with devils, terror of doing anything not in the manuals of good behaviour, terror of God's punishing any mistake, terror of trying and failing, terror of succeeding and having to live with the envy of other people, terror of loving and being rejected, terror of asking for a rise in salary, of accepting an invitation, of going somewhere new, of not being able to speak a foreign language, of not making the right impression, of growing old, of dying, of being pointed out because of one's defects, of not being pointed out because of one's merits, of not being noticed either for one's defects of one's merits.
Paulo Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym)
Man. I tell thee, man! I have lived many years, Many long years, but they are nothing now To those which I must number: ages — ages — Space and eternity — and consciousness, With the fierce thirst of death — and still unslaked! C. Hun. Why on thy brow the seal of middle age Hath scarce been set; I am thine elder far.   50 Man. Think’st thou existence doth depend on time? It doth; but actions are our epochs: mine Have made my days and nights imperishable, Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore, Innumerable atoms; and one desert, Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break, But nothing rests, save carcasses and wrecks, Rocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness.
Lord Byron (Delphi Complete Works of Lord Byron)
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night)
Where the average person appreciates the beauty of surf and waves, Gus, an engineer, sees only practical design. Gravity, plus ocean current, plus wind. Poetry to the common man is a unicorn viewed from the corner of an eye—an unexpected glimpse of the intangible. To an engineer, only the ingenuity of pragmatic solutions is poetic. Function over form. It’s not a question of optimism or pessimism, a glass half full or half empty. To an engineer, the glass is simply too big.
Noah Hawley (Before the Fall)
A kind of northing is what I wish to accomplish, a single-minded trek towards that place where any shutter left open to the zenith at night will record the wheeling of all the sky’s stars as a pattern of perfect, concentric circles. I seek a reduction, a shedding, a sloughing off. At the seashore you often see a shell, or fragment of a shell, that sharp sands and surf have thinned to a wisp. There is no way you can tell what kind of shell it had been, what creature it had housed; it could have been a whelk or a scallop, a cowrie, limpet, or conch. The animal is long since dissolved, and its blood spread and thinned in the general sea. All you hold in your hand is a cool shred of shell, an inch long, pared so thin that it passes a faint pink light. It is an essence, a smooth condensation of the air, a curve. I long for the North where unimpeded winds would hone me to such a pure slip of bone. But I’ll not go northing this year. I’ll stalk that floating pole and frigid air by waiting here. I wait on bridges; I wait, struck, on forest paths and meadow’s fringes, hilltops and banksides, day in and day out, and I receive a southing as a gift. The North washes down the mountains like a waterfall, like a tidal wave, and pours across the valley; it comes to me. It sweetens the persimmons and numbs the last of the crickets and hornets; it fans the flames of the forest maples, bows the meadow’s seeded grasses and pokes it chilling fingers under the leaf litter, thrusting the springtails and the earthworms deeper into the earth. The sun heaves to the south by day, and at night wild Orion emerges looming like the Specter over Dead Man Mountain. Something is already here, and more is coming.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Airports, on the other hand, are like airport bestsellers. They’re easy to read, you forget them quickly, you promise yourself to never again succumb to their temptation, and yet the brightness, those signs, those letters in metallic relief . . . And the passengers who consume those airport bestsellers are increasingly worthy of them. Beings with decreasing capacity for concentration, robots of flesh and bone who can’t go even a minute without connecting to their devices and extensions, as if they were waiting for the confirmation of the success of a sports star they idolize or the news that they’ve become fathers or mothers, even though their respective spouses are right there beside them in that very moment, looking after little kids hooked up to tablets where they surf without waves or a beach.
Rodrigo Fresán (The Invented Part (Trilogía las partes #1))
She tried to recall the cold, the silence, and that precious feeling of owning the world, of being twenty years old and having her whole life ahead of her, of making love slowly and calmly, drunk with the scent of the forest and their love, without a past, without suspecting the future, with just the incredible richness of that present moment in which they stared at each other, smelled each other, kissed each other, and explored each other's bodies, wrapped in the whisper of the wind among the trees and the sound of the nearby waves breaking against the rocks at the foot of the cliff, exploding in a crash of pungent surf, and the two of them embracing underneath a single poncho like Siamese twins, laughing and swearing this night would last forever, that they were the only ones in the whole world who had discovered love.
Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits)
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen: Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown, That host on the morrow lay withered and strown. For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still! And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride; And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf. And there lay the rider distorted and pale, With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail: And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown. And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
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Even yet I do not know why the ocean holds such a fascination for me. But then, perhaps none of us can solve those things—they exist in defiance of all explanation. There are men, and wise men, who do not like the sea and its lapping surf on yellow shores; and they think us strange who love the mystery of the ancient and unending deep. Yet for me there is a haunting and inscrutable glamour in all the ocean's moods. It is in the melancholy silver foam beneath the moon's waxen corpse; it hovers over the silent and eternal waves that beat on naked shores; it is there when all is lifeless save for unknown shapes that glide through sombre depths. And when I behold the awesome billows surging in endless strength, there comes upon me an ecstasy akin to fear; so that I must abase myself before this mightiness, that I may not hate the clotted waters and their overwhelming beauty. Vast and lonely is the ocean, and even as all things came from it, so shall they return thereto. In the shrouded depths of time none shall reign upon the earth, nor shall any motion be, save in the eternal waters. And these shall beat on dark shores in thunderous foam, though none shall remain in that dying world to watch the cold light of the enfeebled moon playing on the swirling tides and coarse-grained sand. On the deep's margin shall rest only a stagnant foam, gathering about the shells and bones of perished shapes that dwelt within the waters. Silent, flabby things will toss and roll along empty shores, their sluggish life extinct. Then all shall be dark, for at last even the white moon on the distant waves shall wink out. Nothing shall be left, neither above nor below the sombre waters. And until that last millennium, and beyond the perishing of all other things, the sea will thunder and toss throughout the dismal night.
H.P. Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft: The Ultimate Collection)
It was warm and salty, chalky and bittersweet. It tasted like the blood of some old, old thing. I tried not to think about how much at the mercy of these strange people I now was. But in fact my courage was failing. Both Dona Catalina and the guide's mocking eyes had slowly gone cold and mantislike. A wave of insect sound sweeping up the river seemed to splatter the darkness with shards of sharpedged light. I felt my lips go numb. Trying not to appear as loaded as I felt, I crossed to my hammock and lay back. Behind my closed eyelids there was a flowing river of magenta light. It occurred to me in a kind of dream mental pirouette that a helicopter must be landing on top of the hut, and this was the last impression I had. When I regained consciousness I appeared to myself to be surfing on the inner curl of a wave of brightly lit transparent information several hundred feet high. Exhilaration gave way to terror as I realised that my wave was speeding toward a rocky coastline.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
Things changed after that between me and Mark. I stopped being mortified that people might mistake me for one of his acolytes. I was his Boswell, don’t you know. I interviewed him about his childhood—his father was a psychiarist in Beverly Hills. I cataloged the contents of his van. I followed him around at work, sitting in while he examined patients. He had been a bit of a prodigy when we were in college. After his father developed a tumor, Mark, who was pre-med, started studying cancer with an intensity that convinced many of his friends that his goal was to find a cure in time to save his father. As it turned out, his father didn’t have cancer. But Mark kept on with his cancer studies. His interest was not in fact in oncology—in finding a cure—but in cancer education and prevention. By the time he entered medical school, he had created, with another student, a series of college courses on cancer and coauthored The Biology of Cancer Sourcebook, the text for a course that was eventually offered to tens of thousands of students. He cowrote a second book, Understanding Cancer, that became a bestselling university text, and he continued to lecture throughout the United States on cancer research, education, and prevention. “The funny thing is, I’m not really interested in cancer,” Mark told me. “I’m interested in people’s response to it. A lot of cancer patients and suvivors report that they never really lived till they got cancer, that it forced them to face things, to experience life more intensely. What you see in family practice is that families just can’t afford to be superficial with each other anymore once someone has cancer. Corny as it sounds, what I’m really interested in is the human spirit—in how people react to stress and adversity. I’m fascinated by the way people fight back, by how they keep fighting their way to the surface.” Mark clawed at the air with his arms. What he was miming was the struggle to reach the surface through the turbulence of a large wave.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
I have been drenched in you I'm going about my day soaking like us in Canons Park, when your car became a prison and I escaped to the side of the road and wept with the rain. That day it understood me where you couldn't. And held me when you wouldn't. I'm soaking again. So of course you have pushed your way into every conversation. Even when I meet those polite folk who only as with their eyes. You spill from my mouth like a tsunami. How vocal this lonely. Sliding into every crevice of my day, I count the minutes by you. It's been an hour and I haven't said your name. But still, there is no getting away from this layer of wet skin sat on mine. Where can I go this wet? Where is quiet enough to listen to the little ripples writing themselves along my arms, and then spend hours building those stories about how we would travel far from here and surf them once they grew into waves? Everyone leave me alone today. It's for me and the you of my mind to hold our breath for as long as possible underneath our reality which is this.
Sophia Thakur (Somebody Give This Heart a Pen)
Here am I, a little animal called a man--a bit of vitalized matter, one hundred and sixty-five pounds of meat and blood, nerve, sinew, bones, and brain,--all of it soft and tender, susceptible to hurt, fallible, and frail. I strike a light back-handed blow on the nose of an obstreperous horse, and a bone in my hand is broken. I put my head under the water for five minutes, and I am drowned. I fall twenty feet through the air, and I am smashed. I am a creature of temperature. A few degrees one way, and my fingers and ears and toes blacken and drop off. A few degrees the other way, and my skin blisters and shrivels away from the raw, quivering flesh. A few additional degrees either way, and the life and the light in me go out. A drop of poison injected into my body from a snake, and I cease to move--for ever I cease to move. A splinter of lead from a rifle enters my head, and I am wrapped around in the eternal blackness. Fallible and frail, a bit of pulsating, jelly-like life--it is all I am. About me are the great natural forces--colossal menaces, Titans of destruction, unsentimental monsters that have less concern for me than I have for the grain of sand I crush under my foot. They have no concern at all for me. They do not know me. They are unconscious, unmerciful, and unmoral. They are the cyclones and tornadoes, lightning flashes and cloud-bursts, tide-rips and tidal waves, undertows and waterspouts, great whirls and sucks and eddies, earthquakes and volcanoes, surfs that thunder on rock-ribbed coasts and seas that leap aboard the largest crafts that float, crushing humans to pulp or licking them off into the sea and to death--and these insensate monsters do not know that tiny sensitive creature, all nerves and weaknesses, whom men call Jack London, and who himself thinks he is all right and quite a superior being.
Jack London (The Cruise of the Snark)
Thich Nhat Hanh. a venerated Vietnamese Buddhist, speaks of a solution that is so utterly simple it seems profane. Be, body and mind, exactly where you are. That is, practice a mindfulness that makes you aware of each moment. Think to yourself, "I am breathing" when you're breathing; "I am anxious" when you're anxious; even, "I am washing the dishes" when you're washing the dishes. To be totally into this moment is the goal of mindfulness. Right now is precious and shall never pass this way again. A wave is a precious moment, amplified: a dynamic natural sculpture that shall never pass this way again. Out interaction with waves - to be fully in the moment, without relationship troubles, bills, or worries - is what frees us. Each moment that we are fully with waves is evidence of our ability to live in the here and now. There is nothing else in the universe when you're making that elegant bottom turn. Here. Now. Simple, but so elusive. A wave demands your attention. It is very difficult to be somewhere else, in your mind, when there is such a gorgeous creation of nature moving your way. Just being close to a wave brings us closer to being mindful. To surf them is the training ground for mindfulness. The ocean can seem chaotic, like the world we live in. But somehow we're forced to slice through the noise - to paddle around and through the adversities of life and get directly to the joy. This is what we need for liberation.
Kia Afcari (Sister Surfer: A Woman's Guide To Surfing With Bliss And Courage)
few years later, Demeter took a vacation to the beach. She was walking along, enjoying the solitude and the fresh sea air, when Poseidon happened to spot her. Being a sea god, he tended to notice pretty ladies walking along the beach. He appeared out of the waves in his best green robes, with his trident in his hand and a crown of seashells on his head. (He was sure that the crown made him look irresistible.) “Hey, girl,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows. “You must be the riptide, ’cause you sweep me off my feet.” He’d been practicing that pickup line for years. He was glad he finally got to use it. Demeter was not impressed. “Go away, Poseidon.” “Sometimes the sea goes away,” Poseidon agreed, “but it always comes back. What do you say you and me have a romantic dinner at my undersea palace?” Demeter made a mental note not to park her chariot so far away. She really could’ve used her two dragons for backup. She decided to change form and get away, but she knew better than to turn into a snake this time. I need something faster, she thought. Then she glanced down the beach and saw a herd of wild horses galloping through the surf. That’s perfect! Demeter thought. A horse! Instantly she became a white mare and raced down the beach. She joined the herd and blended in with the other horses. Her plan had serious flaws. First, Poseidon could also turn into a horse, and he did—a strong white stallion. He raced after her. Second, Poseidon had created horses. He knew all about them and could control them. Why would a sea god create a land animal like the horse? We’ll get to that later. Anyway, Poseidon reached the herd and started pushing his way through, looking for Demeter—or rather sniffing for her sweet, distinctive perfume. She was easy to find. Demeter’s seemingly perfect camouflage in the herd turned out to be a perfect trap. The other horses made way for Poseidon, but they hemmed in Demeter and wouldn’t let her move. She got so panicky, afraid of getting trampled, that she couldn’t even change shape into something else. Poseidon sidled up to her and whinnied something like Hey, beautiful. Galloping my way? Much to Demeter’s horror, Poseidon got a lot cuddlier than she wanted. These days, Poseidon would be arrested for that kind of behavior. I mean…assuming he wasn’t in horse form. I don’t think you can arrest a horse. Anyway, back in those days, the world was a rougher, ruder place. Demeter couldn’t exactly report Poseidon to King Zeus, because Zeus was just as bad. Months later, a very embarrassed and angry Demeter gave birth to twins. The weirdest thing? One of the babies was a goddess; the other one was a stallion. I’m not going to even try to figure that out. The baby girl was named Despoine, but you don’t hear much about her in the myths. When she grew up, her job was looking after Demeter’s temple, like the high priestess of corn magic or something. Her baby brother, the stallion, was named Arion. He grew up to be a super-fast immortal steed who helped out Hercules and some other heroes, too. He was a pretty awesome horse, though I’m not sure that Demeter was real proud of having a son who needed new horseshoes every few months and was constantly nuzzling her for apples. At this point, you’d think Demeter would have sworn off those gross, disgusting men forever and joined Hestia in the Permanently Single Club. Strangely, a couple of months later, she fell in love with a human prince named Iasion (pronounced EYE-son, I think). Just shows you how far humans had come since Prometheus gave them fire. Now they could speak and write. They could brush their teeth and comb their hair. They wore clothes and occasionally took baths. Some of them were even handsome enough to flirt with goddesses.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
the challenges of our day-to-day existence are sustained reminders that our life of faith simply must have its center somewhere other than in our ability to hold it together in our minds. Life is a pounding surf that wears away our rock-solid certainty. The surf always wins. Slowly but surely. Eventually. It may be best to ride the waves rather than resist them. What are your one or two biggest obstacles to staying Christian? What are those roadblocks you keep running into? What are those issues that won’t go away and make you wonder why you keep on believing at all? These are questions I asked on a survey I gave on my blog in the summer of 2013. Nothing fancy. I just asked some questions and waited to see what would happen. In the days to come, I was overwhelmed with comments and e-mails from readers, many anonymous, with bracingly honest answers often expressed through the tears of relentless and unnerving personal suffering. I didn’t do a statistical analysis (who has the time, plus I don’t know how), but the responses fell into five categories.         1.        The Bible portrays God as violent, reactive, vengeful, bloodthirsty, immoral, mean, and petty.         2.        The Bible and science collide on too many things to think that the Bible has anything to say to us today about the big questions of life.         3.        In the face of injustice and heinous suffering in the world, God seems disinterested or perhaps unable to do anything about it.         4.        In our ever-shrinking world, it is very difficult to hold on to any notion that Christianity is the only path to God.         5.        Christians treat each other so badly and in such harmful ways that it calls into question the validity of Christianity—or even whether God exists. These five categories struck me as exactly right—at least, they match up with my experience. And I’d bet good money they resonate with a lot of us. All five categories have one big thing in common: “Faith in God no longer makes sense to me.” Understanding, correct thinking, knowing what you believe—these were once true of their faith, but no longer are. Because life happened. A faith that promises to provide firm answers and relieve our doubt is a faith that will not hold up to the challenges and tragedies of life. Only deep trust can hold up.
Peter Enns (The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs)
There is an inherent, humbling cruelty to learning how to run white water. In most other so-called "adrenaline" sports—skiing, surfing and rock climbing come to mind—one attains mastery, or the illusion of it, only after long apprenticeship, after enduring falls and tumbles, the fatigue of training previously unused muscles, the discipline of developing a new and initially awkward set of skills. Running white water is fundamentally different. With a little luck one is immediately able to travel long distances, often at great speeds, with only a rudimentary command of the sport's essential skills and about as much physical stamina as it takes to ride a bicycle downhill. At the beginning, at least, white-water adrenaline comes cheap. It's the river doing the work, of course, but like a teenager with a hot car, one forgets what the true power source is. Arrogance reigns. The river seems all smoke and mirrors, lots of bark (you hear it chortling away beneath you, crunching boulders), but not much bite. You think: Let's get on with it! Let's run this damn river! And then maybe the raft hits a drop in the river— say, a short, hidden waterfall. Or maybe a wave reaches up and flicks the boat on its side as easily as a horse swatting flies with its tail. Maybe you're thrown suddenly into the center of the raft, and the floor bounces back and punts you overboard. Maybe you just fall right off the side of the raft so fast you don't realize what's happening. It doesn't matter. The results are the same. The world goes dark. The river— the word hardly does justice to the churning mess enveloping you— the river tumbles you like so much laundry. It punches the air from your lungs. You're helpless. Swimming is a joke. You know for a fact that you are drowning. For the first time you understand the strength of the insouciant monster that has swallowed you. Maybe you travel a hundred feet before you surface (the current is moving that fast). And another hundred feet—just short of a truly fearsome plunge, one that will surely kill you— before you see the rescue lines. You're hauled to shore wearing a sheepish grin and a look in your eye that is equal parts confusion, respect, and raw fear. That is River Lesson Number One. Everyone suffers it. And every time you get the least bit cocky, every time you think you have finally figured out what the river is all about, you suffer it all over again.
Joe Kane (Running the Amazon)
Instead, I gave them the only salute I could think of. Two middle fingers. Held high for emphasis. The six fiery orbs winked out at once. Hopefully, they’d died from affront. Ben eyed me sideways as he maneuvered from shore. “What in the world are you doing?” “Those red-eyed jerks were on the cliff,” I spat, then immediately felt silly. “All I could think of.” Ben made an odd huffing sound I couldn’t interpret. For a shocked second, I thought he was furious with me. “Nice work, Victoria.” Ben couldn’t hold the laughter inside. “That oughta do it!” I flinched, surprised by his reaction. Ben, cracking up at a time like this? He had such a full, honest laugh—I wished I heard it more. Infectious, too. I couldn’t help joining in, though mine came out in a low Beavis and Butthead cackle. Which made Ben howl even more. In an instant, we were both in stitches at the absurdity of my one-finger salutes. At the insanity of the evening. At everything. Tears wet my eyes as Sewee bobbed over the surf, circling the southeast corner of the island. It was a release I desperately needed. Ben ran a hand through his hair, then sighed deeply. “I love it,” he snickered, steering Sewee through the breakers, keeping our speed to a crawl so the engine made less noise. “I love you, sometimes.” Abruptly, his good humor cut off like a guillotine. Ben’s body went rigid. I felt a wave of panic roll from him, as if he’d accidently triggered a nuclear bomb. I experienced a parallel stab of distress. My stomach lurched into my throat, and not because of the rolling ocean swells. Did he just . . . what did he mean when . . . Oh crap. Ben’s eyes darted to me, then shot back to open water. Even in the semidarkness, I saw a flush of red steal up his neck and into his cheeks. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. Shifted again. Debated going over the side. Did he really mean to say he . . . loved me? Like, for real? The awkward moment stretched longer than any event in human history. He said “sometimes,” which is a definite qualifier. I love Chinese food “sometimes.” Mouth opened as I searched for words that might defuse the tension. Came up with nothing. I felt trapped in a nightmare. Balanced on a beam a hundred feet off the ground. Sinking underwater in a sealed car with no idea how to get out. Ben’s lips parted, then worked soundlessly, as if he, too, sought to break the horrible awkwardness. A verbal retreat, or some way to reverse time. Is that what I want? For Ben to walk it back? A part of me was astounded by the chaos a single four-word utterance could create. Ben gulped a breath, seemed to reach a decision. As his mouth opened a second time, all the adrenaline in creation poured into my system. “I . . . I was just saying that . . .” He trailed off, then smacked the steering wheel with his palm. Ben squeezed his eyes shut, shaking his head sharply as if disgusted by the effort. Ben turned. Blasted me with his full attention. “I mean it. I’m not going to act—
Kathy Reichs (Terminal (Virals, #5))