Shifting+Shorelines+Surfing+Noelle+Jones

Shifting Shorelines

It’s 5am and I’m up, but I’m not a morning person. Your gravity has gently nudged me awake and pulled me out of bed. Behind the wheel, driving through the fog before first light I run through the times we’ve had together in the last few months. How I’ve stood on the shore watching lines of dark water roll in and felt an instantaneous sense of home fasten itself to the space within my chest. You’ve helped me build a foundation and have been there for me when the work has felt too tough.

I feel a little off (maybe uneasy?) this morning. Not enough sleep and the usual pain is shooting through my spine. For a beat, I hesitate to get into the car. Would it have been more comfortable to get back in bed? I brush the thought off and tighten the straps around my board. You’re already there, quietly waiting for me. 

Years ago, but l recently enough to still reverberate through my bones, a quick trip along the coast turned dark and left me bleeding on the pavement. A stranger held my head in her hands and broken shards of glass sat gleaming next to me like light bouncing off the water. One week later I went to you for solace. I cried as I limped to the shoreline, limbs bandaged, but felt the pain briefly melt away when I clambered to my feet and once again, met you like an old friend . You held me up when I couldn’t even do so myself.

In dirty jeans and bare feet, I ran headfirst to your doorstep – escaping the doctor’s appointments, the lists, the uncertainty and the hopelessness. The thick binds I had woven myself into kept me anchored to the idea that I was beyond repair.

When my body slipped into a steady decline I dreamt of the moments between chaos where the liminal space felt endless. This place was wherehen stillness stopped time and all I needed to do was drag my fingertips through the water and paint my eyes across the horizon to feel satisfied. The moments between moments that we spent together were the ones that kept my chin above the surface when I felt like I could no longer move my limbs. When the pain became unbearable you were still there, whispering in the background for me to keep going. You whispered those words so that we could melt back together once again. It was you that could motivate me to press on. 

There were hundreds of days of hard healing with only a few dozen where I felt like I could unravel the ropes tied tight around me. In dirty jeans and bare feet, I ran headfirst to your doorstep – escaping the doctor’s appointments, the lists, the uncertainty and the hopelessness. The thick binds I had woven myself into kept me anchored to the idea that I was beyond repair. I spoke as if I was broken and my thoughts were like guns turned in my direction. What good would a body be if it couldn’t push itself in the ways it used to? You washed away those words and gave me a new strength. I got into my car with a bed in the back and drove the miles to you. Wherever you exist is a place where I can dance again. 

You have given me more sunny days than I could ever repay you for. Brought freckles to my cheeks. You kept a smile plastered to my face when I felt like I might never see it again. I’ve cursed you out, yelled in your direction and sworn that I’d never be good enough to keep up with you. Somehow, however, you keep forgiving me. The endless changing of a tide has reassured me that I too can create a storm so wild it shifts shorelines. All of this while still knowing that those who love as hard as I do will always come back the next day. 

You saved me when I could not save myself. You’re the perfect sunrise and my most sought-after sunset. For me, it’s as obvious as breath itself. 

Thank you. 

— a love letter to surfing.

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