A Big Wave Is Coming…
I grew up on the east coast, at the beach, and the ocean engendered awe. One moment you could be splashing in foam, the next dragged away in a rip tide or stung by a jellyfish. Or so my mother’s vigilant face told me. In any case, big–really big–waves have always been a focus of my apocalyptic fantasies.
Enter THE WAVE by Susan Casey (Anchor Books, 2011) a mesmerizing account of those who surf these waves, and of rogues that swallow entire container ships. Imagery to keep me awake at night a thousand miles inland.
But listen to this, from demi-god surfer Laird Hamilton: “There’s a school of thought that says you don’t train for what you don’t want to have happen. I don’t want to consciously know how long I can hold my breath. I just know that so far–long enough.”
What?! This is not the philosophy of the Russian Jews who raised me. A tacit understanding in my immigrant family was that the worried survive. Those who ignored Stalin or figured Hitler wouldn’t get that far…well, let’s just say their descendants aren’t at our cousin’s re-union.
My whole life I’ve been waiting for a big wave. Interestingly, the worst things that have happened to me were things I couldn’t predict–and I managed to survive. Maybe the opposite of that worried preparation is faith in one’s ability to act in the moment.
I was recently on one of my rants, “If, God forbid, something terrible happens, at least I have my–health insurance, working vehicle, husband, (insert your safety net here.) My friend who was listening said firmly, “Mir, just stop it.” I was taken aback. This very trustworthy friend wasn’t a New Ager who thought you bring trouble by your thoughts. Nor was she unsympathetic. I think she was just getting sick of watching me torture myself.
So maybe no big wave is coming…or it can be surfed.