Four alarms, three phone calls, one cigarette and an orange before dawn on a Wednesday: That’s how this trip began.
We had been talking about this for weeks, but this winter has been flat. Still, boards rock on top of the roof as wheels churn north towards open waters, eagerly awaiting salt and sand. Rolled down windows whip through yielding hair, steady as changing conversations over a shuffle of familiarity.
A book sits on your dashboard, pages somehow still in the chaos that is an empty Los Angeles freeway. Rincon. Nook. I find myself hiding in those, curled up much like how I sit in this passenger seat, legs crossed or hugging close to my chest.
A steady pace at 50 miles per hour gets us there in two. The sun reveals itself on the road we pull off of, first glance among rocks. They look hollow, made of limestone which crumbles under slippery feet.
|coffee shop hunting | carpentina, ca | 3.28.18 | tri-x p-3200 pulled 1 stop|
"You see that?"
I nod at her vastness.
+ + +
We hit pavement again, searching for this corner on the coast. A dirt path reveals drifted wood, pods of dolphins dancing for an intimate audience, a shack with old surfers drinking cold ones at 8 am.
This is the place.
|rincon, ca | 3.28.18 | tri-x p-3200 pulled 1 stop|
A cup of coffee and an hour later we’re in our finest: barefoot in neoprene waxing longboards on a patch of grass.
The flight out isn’t smooth, much like the shore scattered with stone, dipping unevenly beneath cold toes. It's a guessing game.
We wait it out. I get to digging, curious of another's inner-workings, some path that brought you here besides the 101. Puerto Rico, the other Rincón.
|billy | rincon, ca | 3.28.18 | tri-x p-3200 pulled 1 stop|
“You asked me why I do this? It’s the numbness. I surf because I can’t feel my hands.” It's not what I was expecting.
The horizon is scattered with bobbing heads waiting for a wave, anything, to say hello. Hurry hurry wait for hours until fingers and toes turn blue. I wade, lick the lens, rest my back on silent waters. Stillness sets in, and it's getting harder to adjust the exposure knobs.
|searching for a shoulder | rincon, ca | 3.28.18 | tri-x p-3200 pulled 1 stop|
Unable to bend my fingers, I head to land. I try to get blood flowing with handstands on the sand, and it's working. Glimpses of an upside down shoreline warms me with each inversion. Hair tickles specs of shell and minerals until my head swells with whooshing akin to the tide, until my heart aches to linger in the impact zone. I'll get stuffed, and one day the nose could break mine. And life goes on.
|part of billy|
|half of gil|
|all of matt|
Exposures hit zero, and I call it before you. A couple of one more's and we're back on land. I cartwheel and handstand and topple over in the sand until that runs dry. We dip our toes into tidepools, our fingers into sea anemone, sticky tentacles grasping for grub. In an instant, I'm transported back to Oregon, where six year old Sarah spent hours mesmerized by stars and cucumbers, bright sea life so readily available to explore up close. I could stay here for eternity.
Except my stomach growls, and mexican sounds good. So we board up, we dress down, we warm up and scarf down, each bite less saltier than the last.