My hands are blistery pink. The wind stings my cheeks. Salt crystals form around the ringlets of my hair. Ice cold saltwater drips from my eyelashes. I make my way out of the blue. I step onto solid ground to find my feet are so cold that it’s challenging to walk. I make my way over the sandy dune, towards my truck. “Heat,” I think to myself, “oh, I can’t wait.”
I gently place my board down beside my vehicle, grab the keys from the bed of the truck, unlock the ol’ F-150, lean in, quickly insert the key, and attempt to start the ignition. Yes, just an attempt. My hands are so cold I cannot turn the key over. I try several more times, then relinquish.
The sunniest spot around my truck catches my eye, I step into it, “perfect changing spot!” The upper portion of my wetsuit comes off relatively easily. I roll it down, wrap a fleece jacket around myself, and begin to take my boots off. The neoprene hugs tightly around my lower shin. I grab the upper portion, roll it down, then stick my fingers in towards my heel, pushing down as I pull up with my leg. My fingers buckle at every knuckle. I try again, same result. “Ugh!” I toss my head back and look up at the sun in hopes it will lend me some warmth.
A fellow surfer walks by asking, “how was it??”
“So fun! Go get some!” I reply. No hesitation. No groaning. No complaint.
“What makes it all worth it?” I wonder, as he smiles and runs back to his jeep to change into his neoprene attire.
Is it the fresh air? The saltwater? The time in nature? Is it the comradery? The thrill?
For me, it’s a combination of these factors, and the discomfort of the cold, well we might as well add that into the mix. Because the overall experience, even the pain, makes it all worth it. The experience of life on this planet, not through social media, not through TV, not through a thought, but through direct experience in nature with others, is a miracle and a blessing that we often take for granted. Yet it is the only thing that makes it ALL worth it.