Monday, January 10, 2011


We're home, and it's hot.  Our lawn is a scorched strip of yellow straw and our climbing jasmine vines have been baked a deep-rust red and on our very first evening home we gave up on it all and went down to the beach.
But we turned the sprinklers on first.  We're not complete sadists.
            There was a low tide and stiff wind and the kite-surfers were out.  The water made a shallow lagoon between the shore and the sandbar, and we waded out through it and stood on the sandbar next to a man with a camera and a rather large lens and watched the kite-surfers showing off.
They grabbed air, mostly.  Got up a good head of speed, bit their boards into the water, bent their knees and suddenly they were thirty feet up above us, hanging there - floating there, like they were taking an evening walk across the sky.
            The smarter riders played these games on the edge of the bay where the water was running deep.  The more foolish ran their stunts right in front of the camera and when you come down hard and don't land quite right, six inches of water don't provide much of a cushion for a full-body sand-plant. 
            We winced in sympathy and twisted our own shoulders upside down and sideways, to make sure they were still working.
            There was only one novice out there.  He stuck to speed-runs out into the bay and back, and we could see the muscles in his arms flexing and clenching as he wrenched at the control bar of his harness, trying to keep the kite in the wind and not take him out into the gulf and half-way to Adelaide.  The kids, on the other hand, were like noodles: their hands resting lightly on the bar, managing the pitch and yaw of the kite with the pressure of an index finger.

When the lagoon got about knee deep we headed in (it can come in pretty fast and suddenly you're up past your waist and battling a current).  Slogging back across the lagoon, the riders used us for posts in speed-runs of their own, cutting close against our shins and leaving us sloshing in their wake.  One took a hard, fast jump right over our heads - we looked up and saw him floating in the sky right above us.  That was all right.
            One young man took a run right in to shore.  As he hit the beach he lofted himself into the air and, six feet above the beach, reached down to remove his board from his feet and tucked it calmly under his arm, then landed lightly on the sand on both bare feet.
He must have practiced that move for weeks.   We gave him a slow clap to show that we couldn't be bought that Easily, but the cheers gave it away.

Being home is orrite, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment