If you got it right, the wave would pick you up and carry you a hundred yards or more, your face inches from the frothy surface, spume churning behind your shoulders.
The beaches of Cornwall where my father used to take his children each summer were lovely. At high tide many of them would be no more than steep narrow strips of coarse sand. But at low tide they opened out in broad expanses. One in particular down near Land’s End, beneath the cliffs of “Logan Rock” would vanish entirely at high tide. Only as the tide ebbed would it be laid bare: a golden field of secret sand.
This was in the 1970s when surfing was just barely reaching Britain’s south-westerly shores. We kids had small strips of plywood bought from a local garage or gas station, about twelve inches wide and quarter of an inch thick, bent upward at their tips, which you could jam into your hips, cling onto and surge forward as a wave came up behind you. If you got it right, the wave would pick you up and carry you a hundred yards or more, your face inches from the frothy surface, spume churning behind your shoulders.
Riding in like that as the tide came in on the deserted, vanishing beach in the late afternoon, with the sea and the cliff gilded by late sun, was quite an experience. The wave would take you on and on until it was just a little wall of glassy water no more than a foot tall. Eventually you’d feel the board ground out on the sand, and lie there gasping as the remains of the wave lapped up over the beach ahead. Some of the water would pull back hissing, and some would turn into froth and drain down into the beach, its momentum spent.
Perhaps that’s how the Dharma is coming to the West. It has been arriving in successive waves. Various currents, various shore lines, various waves. Each wave has its ride, and finally sinks into the sand or rejoins the great ocean. Wave after wave, each with its own momentum and story. That’s how a tide flows in to shore. It’s just that rather than being a 12-hour tide, this one may be more like a 700-year tide.
Message from Henry from our November 1, 2016 Newsletter
Image: Cornwall, by Falco, CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay.com