August Reflections: Writing, Running, and Wake Surfing

August was not my most prolific haiku month—there was a paper due for my Family Systems Theory class, so Strategic Family Therapy took up residence in my head for a couple of weeks. And now there’s another paper due next Friday, so currently my head is spinning with Narrative Therapy concepts. There was a week of vacation as well, a time during which I thought I might get some writing done, or at least some haiku inspiration, but that time too became occupied with other, more pressing matters (like learning how to wake surf behind my brother’s boat).

I didn’t get as much running in this month as I would have liked, either, though I did enter a race early in the month and came in first in the women’s division (not just for my age group, but among all the women who entered the 5K). So, maybe sometimes it’s not quantity but quality—I’d say about half of the poems I wrote this month were decent and most of the runs I took were solid. My average time came down by about a minute from my July time, even though my overall monthly mileage was down by about 40 miles. I guess the lesson here is that more is not always better.first place

I did run while we were on vacation in Eastern Oregon, up at 4500 feet—quite the difference from running at sea level. My average run, on my favorite running trail, occurs at about 450 feet above sea level. Needless to say, I felt the burn as I ran the roads near Wallowa Lake. I only managed two runs in the thin mountain air, but I also kayaked, wake boarded, and wake surfed.

It’s taken me three consecutive summers to become a competent wake boarder. The first summer, I spent a few sessions behind the boat simply trying to get my ass up out of the water with no success. The next summer, I finally got up, but my runs were short-lived, and I swallowed a lot of lake water. This summer, I popped up on the first try and let the boat pull me around the lake until I thought my arms might fall off. Between my turns on the wake board, I watched my brother, niece, and nephew surf behind the boat—it looked a lot easier on the body, I thought, since there was no rope to cling to (except for getting up on the board), no stiff boots to cram my feet into, and, since the boat went slower for the surfers, less chance of a power douche upon crashing.

I hesitated to try surfing, however, as I remembered the pain of learning to wake board. I felt comfortable in my mediocre competence on the wake board. I didn’t want to fail at surfing. I didn’t want to spend another three summers learning this new skill. Then I remembered my commitment to saying “yes.” So, on our last day at the lake, when the ballast on the boat was loaded for us left-foot-forward boarders, I decided to try, to say yes, to take the risk. To plunge once more into that 65 degree water.

I got up on my first try. I fell, but I got up again. And I surfed behind the boat. And The Little Woman caught it all on video (that’s my very patient brother you hear coaching me). I hung onto the rope, but I didn’t always need it (generally once a wake surfer finds her sweet spot in the wake, she will toss the rope back onto the boat, unless, like me, she’s still learning to find that sweet spot). And isn’t life all about finding that sweet spot?surfing 5

Without further ado, here are August’s haikus. Enjoy!

Our words are relics
Shards from a different time
Sharp broken treasures

Come, worship at my
Word altar. Kneel before this
Poetry’s gospel.

You throw like a girl
Can no longer be hurled as
An insult. Go Mo.

Today’s the day, I’m
living dangerously now.
Carpe that diem.

Despair resonates—
Love is the only ladder.
Rung by rung, we climb.

Whooshing noise and then
flood. Broken water heater.
Theater of despair

Against all advice
And common sense—I reach out,
Touch the white-hot flame.

Break me open like
A rough rock—brush off the dirt,
Find the gems inside

We have already
colored outside the lines—ain’t
No going back now

8 thoughts on “August Reflections: Writing, Running, and Wake Surfing

  1. It’s so good to read about your adventures and to delight in your new poems. I especially loved “Against all advice/And common sense—I reach out,/ Touch the white-hot flame” because it speaks of risk-taking and I need poetic support for that now. Thank you, Pam.

    1. Oooh, yup. One of my faves, that one. Reminds me of this lyric to Pink’s song Try: Where there is desire
      There is gonna be a flame
      Where there is a flame
      Someone’s bound to get burned
      But just because it burns
      Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
      You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
      Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
      You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

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