West Swell

One of the things I love most about where I live is the way our community is attuned to the tides and the surf forecasts. There’s a distinct buzz in the air—even among the non-surfing population—when a sizable swell is on its way. And when the waves actually show up, it almost feels like a holiday. I was in North Laguna this morning and stopped to look at Rockpile; here’s the poem I wrote afterward:

Last night I opened
the bedroom windows to better hear
the west swell announcing its arrival.
In the dark, the building surf sounded like
the thunderous steps of an ill-tempered giant.

This morning, the swell
had filled in and taken on
a different sound, a brisk and friendly crashing.
Under a clear blue sky, the mood at Heisler Park was festive:
surfers hastily parked their cars to check the conditions at Rockpile;
runners slowed their steps to look at the break;
a dog-walker stopped and stared
at a surfer tracing lines across a big set wave.
The giant was nowhere in sight.