I surf. I cannot be bothered with class when the waves are good- especially classes at 8 in the morning when there just isn’t possibly enough time to surf at sunrise and make it back to campus.
Some of the greatest days of my life have begun with a cold drive to the beach in the pre-dawn darkness after a healthy snowfall and plentiful warnings on the television set to stay inside until the plowmen have done their jobs. No one’s on the road, you can see your breath inside your car, and there’s this things that have changed. Heaven, in its virgin white outfit at your feet and the great unknown both above and before you. The buoys look good, the wind is calm, my boards are waxed, and I’m driving 65 through residential streets because I’ve grown up driving on these streets and I’ve learned from the best. In snow, your foot always has to be on the gas- the brake is often your greatest enemy, causing sliding and slipping and fishtailing into guardrails and ditches. But no, with a solid foot on the gas, your wheels assert themselves and bully the icy roads into submission.
On the coldest of days, I get up at 4, with a feeling not unlike the feeling of youth on Christmas morning, and put on a thick and heavy neoprene suit that hasn’t had time to dry from the night before, and is literally the coldest single thing you can imagine as it cups and clings to every possible part of your body that you could imagine being very uncomfortable to be so cold so early in the morning. It’s so thick and heavy you can only put it on half way, so that you can drive. Over the wet wetsuit goes sweatpants and thick sock and many layers and a heavy coat and mittens and boots- sometimes to check the waves where I live requires walking through waist deep snow. That’s just to see the waves- to walk over the brim of rocks or through somebody’s summer cottage backyard can often be it’s own fun little journey. But it’s all totally necessary to make it in the water for sunrise.
Sunrise is the greatest time of day if you’re a surfer and the waves are up. On a clear day, with a few cumulous clouds spotted about the sky, my friends and I often say we get to high-five god. It’s the most magical sight you’ve never seen. To see the ocean turn alive with multiple rows of cold gray swell marching towards the beach and building and growing taller and finally detonating and exploding over shallow rocks, coupled with golden rays of sunlight peaking over the horizon and adding a special golden hue to anything and everything in it’s path, which includes each and every droplet of water. A wave breaking is like a magical and god-like version of fireworks that would make even the most devout atheist believe in god.