I rock shorts in single digits

I rock shorts in single digits, and wonder what my life has become.
I grew up living life in front of a fully cranked heater on brisk Queensland mornings.
They were no less than ten degrees in the new money, and they required layers.
Now I rock shorts in single digits, and wonder what everyone on a website on the other side of the world is complaining about.
I sit in the sun drinking beer and stealing wifi from a restaurant that asks me to seek shelter, and my gaze lands upon snow capped mountains.
Winter hits back home, with all the ferocity of a kitten wrapped in cotton balls.
And right there I wanted to write puppy, but any chance for alliteration I will jump at. Jumping around at nothing that means anything, like a six-week-old chocolate fucking labrador.
I rock shorts in single digits, and wonder, while sitting around getting drunk on local ale and stealing wifi, what my life has become.
Perhaps nothing of what it could have been.
But potential can only be attained if matched by ambition and ambition is a fickle beast, stuck in the headlights of a passing parade.
To be fair though, with its bright lights and beautiful people, I fucking love this parade.

As I round the final bend on a year in the Americas and the weather comes full circle, ambition and potential become as relevant to me as the weather.
These are things I think about at the edges of everything else that goes on but nothing worth giving any real consideration to – not just yet.
It’s a brief, a passing, where I stick my head out the window of my existence and throw a jacket in the van just in case a fog rolls in while I surf.
And surfing here is enough of a challenge to relegate any aspirations of the future to the passenger’s seat, along with that seldom worn jacket.
Because I rock shorts in single digits on the beach, and attempt to apply the same foolhardy mentality to the ocean which I enter daily, and which is so changeable on the north west coast of North America that I am never not caught by surprise.

I am surprised as three days of northerly winds can blow in such a change in the ocean’s temperature that I can last only thirty minutes before frozen limbs leave me limping from Long Beach on low tide.
I’m surprised as I have surfed the last month without rubber boots (or party pants) and managed two hour sessions with only a few frozen digits at a time.
(It’s important to note that frozen toes encourages surfing my backhand, which always needs improvement.)
But all in, I’m surprised that two months in I can don the 4/3 and booties and regard it as the most natural way to enter the ocean, impersonating a seal as closely as possible in waters where seals aren’t high on the food chain, and not feel fear.

The pub I work in overlooks water where orcas have been breaching in the last few weeks, and overlooks a marina home to a sealion named Oscar.
The Oregon coastline, only a few hundred clicks to the south, is a great-white-shark breeding ground, and regarded as the source of the cold water currents which make their way north to Vancouver Island.
The nature of this part of the Pacific Ocean is enough to kill any ill equipped human, and given the chance the creatures that dwell therein are certainly adapted to cull any stragglers from the food chain.
But for the same reasons I don’t allow fear to keep from the water in Western Australia, I can pretend to tease the limits of my mortality here on the west coast of North America.


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