My sister is doing graduate work on a group of surfer-musicians who maintain a more than seventy-year-old music tradition on the beach at San Onofre, California. She’s an amazingly talented writer, with incredible insight into what she calls “oceanophelia”; something that all of us in Montauk understand, even if we’ve never put a name to it. Quoting from her new blog STOKOLOGY:
My father’s choice was to surf. Soon as he was able, he ventured west, made certain professional and economic sacrifices, all so that, at day’s end, he could immerse himself in the cold California Pacific to catch waves. Like the surfer-musicians at San Onofre, he put oceanophilia at the center of our family life, and in so doing, adjoined our lives to a particular and burgeoning culture…
I was lucky to grow up in a small, southern California coastal town at a time when skin-diving for plentiful abalone was walking distance from our home; when one of my favorite winter-time treats, the gathering of California sea mussels to cook in a beer and butter bath, still was legal; when pre-kindergartener that I was, I could run down to the beach, unattended (while mom was at home making dinner, but that’s another subject) to greet my neoprene-smelling father as he emerged from his surf session so that we could watch the sun set together. I remember glittering, moonlit grunion runs and family camping trips to central and southern Baja. A few years on, my brother and I hitch-hiked the entire Baja peninsula, including its Vizcaino peninsula all the way out to Isla Natividad. We never gave it a second thought. I definitely caught the tail end of a very special time. Those days are gone.
But stoke is not. Stoke endures. Stoke, a transcendent experience, has a tremendous amount to teach us about the art of being human and will have a tremendous impact on the next millennium, if we are just clever enough to let it.
This is definitely a blog I’m going to be reading, and I hope you will to. I guess I’m going to have to figure out how to put a “blogroll” up, and make my first entry!