Old Surfers

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The wharf stood pretty solid today in the heavy swells.
Santa Cruz has gone through a winter of pounding like no one remembers.
Whitewater heavy with sand rolled over roads and closed beaches.
A few visitors have been swept into the gray anonymity.
Surfers paddle out in the rainy fog to ride the jagged walls wrapping around lighthouse point.
So many years I’ve bounced around here in this exciting water,
but now a stiff spine and uneven balance warns me to keep out;
be content with a redwood bench and zippered jacket.
I’ve become one of those silent observers I once wondered about.
There are quite a few of us remaining.
We populate the viewpoints with our gray beards and mustaches.
While the country fell apart with wars and the earth raped for real estate,
riding waves was not the same puzzling experience, but a constant interior song.
We shield our tired bodies from the moistened wind as we watch the next age,
while our old muscle memories feel the free-fall down the face of an overhead monster.
We have the shrieking call of gulls gliding in and out of cold-water damaged ears,
the rough grunt of sea lions demanding their own territory in the breathing kelp beds.
The ocean, after all these years, still has that non-stop rising and lowering breath–
a lover who walks away, but remains in our middle world.

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