It’s cloudy on my last full day in Pichilemu.
I’ve had an amazing time here surfing and warming my body in the sun and discovering the mystical and profound energy of the wind and waves here at Punta de Lobos.
I was on fire with nature’s beauty and power but my mood has shifted for whatever reason it has and I’m soured in this place and ready to leave. This wave has crested and it’s breaking now all around me, underneath the surface the rip is pulling me back out to the great ocean of emptiness.
My mind floats and bobs up and down in this storm, rocking back and forth as if balancing on a board in the choppy seas forever. Why can’t I let go and relax and float on my back in still waters? My emotions are fickle, be still this lake.
The wind rips over the water and I float out to the abyss, dragged by the current. Ocean-sprayed and salt crusted to my eyelashes and drying scalp. And the harder I paddle, the more my tiny platform pitches and tilts and threatens to toss me to into the deep. Time after time I grab hold again and lie steady, only for a new wave to break and crash against my vessel.
At times I see clearly, that a still mind will mysteriously make all the waters around me still as well — they are one, truly universal consciousness. I believe it and know it in my heart of hearts. But not today, I can’t be there, only see it in the growing distance as I float away.
All I see is cloudy sky in panorama and whitewater swelling around and up over my head. An endless ocean in every direction, swirling green and blue and thick with salt.
Be my shore. Be my dry land. Light the candle against the mirror. I think I can make out a shape in the distance, tall and slim in striped black sweater. But is it all a dream, an ocean mirage in this salted desert?
Then another wave breaks over me and I suck and spew water from my nose like a resurfacing whale, desperate for life and breath. The lighthouse I saw, no mirage, has disappeared behind fresh swells but I know it’s still there — but in which direction? I’ve come too far to try and turn around now and I must pick a direction and paddle until daylight, but the water turns me and I’m lost. I’m lost. That’s it. Paddle. Paddle and trust. Paddle and trust and try to remember to enjoy each moment. That’s all there can be.
I’m going out to watch the surf competition. Maybe the swirling energy of Punta de Lobos and the monster waves and excitement can bring me back. Either way I’m off to Santiago tomorrow and then an early plane on Tuesday to Puerto Natales and Patagonia and the bottom of the planet. Traveling always mutes everything, with no internet and no chance to sit around on my phone and waste the day away thinking about things I can’t change.
Riding a colectivo to Punta de Lobos for the surf competition and already I’m starting to feel better as I get to the break and smell the water and see the gathering crowds. But the cloudy day won’t go away, it’s here to stay and I think maybe it’s the weather driving my mood.
I spent all day at the surf competition watching these incredible women surf monster waves with the pressure of the tournament style heats and the cheering crowd and cameras and announcers. There’s an incredible atmosphere, everyone relaxing and having fun watching the waves and the surf.
It’s so peaceful here — amazing how such a violent and powerful force can invoke such calm and peace. The sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs and rolling over on themselves is enough to lull me into a stupor. But down in the water the competition is fierce and I have a new respect for the pros, just staying afloat and paddling out so far in the face of these incredible waves is a feat.
The sets keep hammering the riders and one by one they duck dive under the breaking whitewater to get to their chosen spot, and wait…and watch. Then suddenly they pick their wave and turn and paddle hard and hopefully drop in and ride — turning and pumping, each with their own style to try to impress the judges.
There is so much strategy and patience needed that I didn’t know about. If you pick a dud wave you ride it in without getting many points then you have to spend so much time and energy trying to paddle back to the big waves and the timed heat just disappears. But if you wait forever then the other three riders get all the waves and you never score any points and the round disappears on you that way too. There are a lot of other rules I’m missing I’m sure but it’s still so much fun to watch.
There are a bunch of food and craft vendors here and I had a tasty falafel sandwich and some tea for lunch and it was perfect. Now sitting on the cliffs for my last afternoon watching the surf and surfers, it couldn’t be a better way to spend my last few hours of daylight here. Thank you for bringing me back to life.
I imagine a life of driving a food tuck or van around Chile or California and selling vegan delights and hot tea and small handicrafts and artwork and visiting beaches and events and spending time outdoors and hopefully writing and it’s a beautiful dream.
Goodbye Pichilemu, thank you for the surf and the sun and your magical waves.
I am not a surfer though I love these rolling waves.
I am not a climber though I’d love to reach the summit.
I am not a photographer though I love the lens.
I am not an adventurer, though I love the journey.
I am a poet. Nothing else.
I am not a chef though I love to cook.
I am not a student though I love to learn.
I am not a writer though I love a good story.
I am not my words though I pour myself into the page.
I am a poet. Nothing more.
I am never at home though I love to be still.
I am not a nomad though I love to travel.
I am not my dreams though they seem so real.
I am not the stars, though one day these atoms will be smeared across the galaxy.
I am a poet and that is all.
I am not my body though it’s hard to see much else.
I am not even really me, in the way I always thought.
I am not the past though all of history brings us to this moment.
I am not the future though each moment is the seed of all time and space.
I am a poet. Only this and nothing else.
There are many things I am not, but only one thing I am.
I am a poet.
It’s easy really.
There are many things I am not and you can even try a few for yourself…
Think of something, anything really.
Think of me now, okay — ready?
I am not that.
I am only a poet.
Nothing more and nothing less. Is this enough? No matter, I have nothing else to offer.
I am only a poet.
Life is simple if you allow it.