I try not to make a habit of watching television, although I make an exception for San Francisco Giants baseball. Otherwise, I am a recovering TV-aholic that has reached the age where I realize and appreciate that life is too short to live it vicariously in front of the boob tube.
This is all the more relevant in light of yesterday's terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. As with the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, it's easy to get sucked up by 24-hour news coverage of this event in an effort to try and understand what happened, why it happened and what we we can learn from it. Well, I've learned that we can only try to understand why these senseless acts occur. But I suppose if we could truly understand why they happen then we could prevent them from happening again and again. But we can't. Those entrusted with our security - and God bless them for their commitment and sacrifice - can limit the frequency of these cowardly and heinous acts but they will never completely rid our society of them. In the meantime, we are left with journalists filling air time with conjecture and stupid questions to those affected while political pundits back at the studio blame leaders, administrations and policies. Well, none of this makes me smarter or feel any better, two things I always strive for. Call it an "ignorance is bliss" attitude but I just don't see the point in hyper-analysis without some sort of conclusion other than Nielsen ratings.
You may be wondering what, if anything, this has to do with surfing. Glad you asked. As I read about these events (yes, I do try to stay informed) and their aftermath, I find myself drawn to two things that I hold dear: surfing and music. Both are healthy, harmonious and in most cases peaceful. We as a society need more of these qualities. While I don't need to see every single human being paddle out or pick up a guitar, I think the ones who are troubled enough to want to kill, maim or terrify innocent people would benefit from a salt water cleansing, a magic carpet slide down a crystal blue wall and a groovy, positive tune in their heads. They can take their pick: body surf, boogie board, short board, long board. Right, left, prone. Oldies, Country, Classic Rock. Whatever they choose, I would think they, like me and millions of other surfers, could get in tune with nature, work out their problems and feel better about themselves and the world around them to the point that they don't feel compelled to harm and destroy.
Since yesterday's tragedy, I have come back time and time again to this video. I discussed this video by Jack McCoy and Paul McCartney in my last blog entry about Jack's film "A Deeper Shade of Blue" and commented it was one of the highlights of the film. For me, "Blue Sway" captures what surfing is for me and I imagine for so many others: serenity, harmony with nature, physical activity, spiritual cleansing, all in a dream like environment. Macca's accompanying music only heightens the effect. Watch it in large screen and as many times as you need to remember that it's the beautiful things in this world, not the tragic, that give us purpose and hope.
Until next time, may your waves be head high, safe, peaceful and glassy.