The world is constantly changing. When I’m older it will be a lot different than it is now. No matter what though, I will always cherish these.
1.) The rain. I already wrote a whole blog post about it but I love the way the sky looks when it’s cloudy. I love the smell outside. The music sounds better and the mountains look better.
2.) Sitting on the beach and looking out at the ocean at night. Watching the boats or lack of. And of course watching the night sky, if I can see it. (Far from light pollution).
3.) What is really special to me, uniquely me, are the numerous points in Southern China where I can see these beautiful vistas every Summer. My special spots in Hunan where the flora is incredible. And there’s this unforgettable temple too- it’s high in the mountains with very few people. It’s enormous- it has a whole lake, completely flat and silver as the sky. Long, winding stairs carve across the entire temple surrounded by fog. So you’re just walking around from breathtaking building to building, it’s incredible. I can’t believe somewhere like that actually exists.
I think humans have developed this extraordinary ability to ignore the minuscule. We go about our everyday lives without paying any attention to the little joys all around us.
Thoreau, the Transcendentalist philosopher we are studying in English class, spent a great length of time at Walden Pond. He took up residence in a ramshackle house which he refused to upkeep and lived the most simple of lives out in the wilderness. Though I do not believe myself capable of his feat (I would grow lonely within a week), I admire his efforts to console nature for advice.
The other day, I was laying in a hammock when I spotted so many tiny insects in the soil around me. Within a two-foot radius, I saw green bugs crawling up blades of grass, ladybugs munching on leaves, and a huge number of ants scurrying over the dirt. It was beautiful. I guess I had never before considered how much life there was in my back garden.
They are always here – the little sources of beauty – whether they come from nature or another. We are just so used to turning a blind eye and a deaf ear. We have let ourselves become distracted by materialism, work, or responsibility so that we overlook one of the best parts of life: the details. I want to open my eyes and ears again and appreciate every last grain of sand, a speck of dust, snowflake, and ladybug.
I surf with more passion than I’ve ever felt before, but I’d certainly not consider myself good. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered, walls of water like moving mountains, foamy white water like a powerful avalanche, a board which goes from your greatest ally to greatest enemy the moment it is freed from your hands and feet. Is the feeling of a wave worth the pain of falling? Often, yeah it is, small waves, no biggie, a couple seconds of being underwater (burr), and then you paddle back out and try again. But when the waves become giants and the board a brute force weapon, that fall feels like life or death. I remember going out on a day with waves far beyond my skill set, Goliath and Polyphemus in the flesh. Before even paddling for a wave a set came in, the first wave blocked the sun as it groaned past me, the second feathered as I crested its peak desperately paddling to the outside, and the third I was not so lucky. The avalanche hit me, immediately tearing the board from my hands, the wave now groaning on top of me thrashing my body like a ragdoll in a washing machine. My last thought was “I really don’t want to die”, and then, it was over. The wave passed and adrenaline pulled out beyond the impact zone. So what pushes me to surf in water like this, maybe I just like the adrenaline but I think it’s because putting myself in places beyond my skill set and comfort, where I am deeply imperfect, has shaped who I am.
So there’s this baby opossum named Poppi who I’m obsessed with. She was rescued by @opossumsinspire on Instagram and she’s the most perfect little creature that ever existed. I’ll just show you her. You’ll understand.
This picture was the first one Poppi posted. It’s my screensaver. Sometimes I just stare at this picture. I love her bulging eyes and her limp toes. She looks huge here but she’s actually tiny. You’ll see it in the next picture.
Every joey needs a mama’s back to ride on. Even if it’s not a typical opossum mom. I love how scruffy she is.
Poppi’s tail features in this photo. Her little black birthmark on it is adorable. I love her so much.
One word: TEETH. I can’t.
She’s literally perfect. Look at those toes. Look at that face.
Poppi is the best at Uno. That’s the face of someone who has three +4 cards in her hand.
Now that you’ve got Poppi fever, my work is done. Go check out @opossumsinspire on Instagram.
Today it was 86 degrees. This weather is so gorgeous it makes me sick. When I wake up and the sun is shining through my window, I want nothing more than to let my bed swallow me whole until nine pm the same day. I think that it’s so ironic how such a beautiful day could make me want to hide in my room for so long. When I sit in class and look out the window as the heat ripples across the ground, I want to cry and bang my head against the desk. I. Hate. It. I like to put in my left airpod and listen to the same playlist over and over again all day. It mainly consists of Dream, Ivory, Oscar Lang, Deftones, The Walters, and Cocteau Twins. If you were to look it up, it sounds like the feeling of taking a bath at three in the morning in the dark, because that is my comfort. I love to be alone. But not in a sad, I’m so depressed because my life is just the hardest thing in the world kind of way. I like it because it reminds me that every day is the same, and I hate that feeling but in a weird way I love to feel the things that I hate. I love routines. I love when it’s cold outside but I’m wearing two shirts and a hoodie. When you wake up and the sky is grey, you can’t see 50 feet in front of you because of the haze. I love to walk alone at school and wait for the day to end. It’s the same feeling every day that I crave. I love to hate being sad.
I probably had one of my rawest encounters with the ocean on the Santa Cruz trip. On Thursday the group hiked to Smugglers cove (Liam and I ran), this large round bay faces south, unlike Scorpion Ranch which faces northeast where we spend most of the trip. What’s important is not the bay itself but that hundreds of miles south of the bay a hurricane was(still is) active off of Baja. Hurricanes and storms such as this one generate 90% of swells worldwide, and this storm is no exception. For days large lumps of water have traveled hundreds of miles along the coast bringing warm water and very good waves to Mexico and California. The swell and bay direction created a very interesting experience in the water. Large closeout walls slammed into shores in sets of 4 to 5 waves with faces that peaked (to my best guess) at 7 or 8 feet. Liam, Zimo, and I got the opportunity to swim out into these waves ducking and swimming under them and even catching the smaller ones with our bodies, or the boogie board in Liam’s case. This experience is easily one of the coolest I’ve had in the water because of the lack of wind and large swell, the waves were perfectly clean giants and they were absolutely gorgeous. Each set was a new masterpiece of nature and each wave defined the ocean’s beauty. I love waves.
Today, the first drops of rain after months of blistering heat graced Ojai for just one minute. It was the best minute of that day. I love rain. I could just watch and listen to it forever. I love when the sky clouds up and makes everything prettier. Today, the beautiful grey sky brought out the green in the mountains surrounding OVS. It all just looked so fresh and not regular old California. Everything looks better in the rain.
I love the feeling of raindrops on my head, I love watching them out the window, I love the sound of wind and thunder, and I even love the smell of wet asphalt. At night, everything is just incredible- city lights upside-down on shiny streets, and the comforting sound of heavy downpours making you sleepy. Henry Wadsworth was totally wrong about rainy days being “dark and dreary” if he loved sunny days so much he should’ve lived in California. Anyway the rain today, despite being accompanied by 95-degree temperatures and its briefness, is welcomed by me.
Today the OVS surf club opened the year with essentially a perfect dawn patrol. Although the waves weren’t incredible, we had 24 people in the water, and the OVS kids’ energy was immaculate. Even Liam (who was snaking and tackling kids off waves) was keeping everyone in a good mood. For me, that’s what surfing is all about; just having fun in the water. I’m stoked to have such a large surfing crew at OVS. Although I’m not the only surfer and certainly not the best, I was basically the only one pushing Byars for more surf-related activities last year. I mean most of us live less than 30 minutes from the beach and we’ve (at least since I’ve been here) never had this many kids willing and excited to wake up at 5:00 am to get into 64° water. Also with Mr. Mundingbecker being a new edition this year, it seems like we are going to have a real surf team and hopefully, it will add a piece to the OVS Outdoor Education that I think the school has been missing.
This is a vignette I wrote over the summer at a creative writing camp I attended. Enjoy.
Syracuse wound through the maze of a prison, following behind his human who led him by the reins. He kept catching Riven’s eye beside him, but neither of them dared to snuffle or neigh to each other for fear of alerting the things their humans feared to their presence. Their humans seemed anxious enough just from the quiet clacking of their hooves on the concrete.
The deformed humans in the cells stared, but were unable to vocalize in any way. The gouges and scars covering their faces were horrifying even without their monstrous, misshapen bodies, so Syracuse tried to keep his eyes anywhere but on those creepy humans. Riven’s skin twitched when something skittered behind him and brushed against his fetlocks, but he did his best to remain calm so he wouldn’t set off his human.
The ground gradually shifted from concrete, to bricks, to carpeted floor. Syracuse and Riven’s hooves were nearly silent on the carpet, and they stared up in wonder as the scenery around them changed to reveal a room bigger than their stable with gold-embellished bookshelves lining every wall from floor to ceiling. However, no matter how much they wanted to explore, their humans kept tugging at them fretfully and they ended up hurrying through the room without being able to get close enough to see a single book title.
Syracuse and Riven were led through several more halls that seemed like they were part of a residency wing of the castle. After what felt like eons to them, their humans brought them up to a massive set of oak doors.
Riven’s human stepped up and pulled one door open. Despite how immense they were, the hinges were perfectly greased and made no noise as the door swung in and flooded the dark entryway with blinding light.
Syracuse and Riven squinted into the sun as their humans took them outside. When their sensitive eyes finally adjusted, they had to stop to gaze upon the gorgeous, sprawling mountains and sheer, marble cliff sides.
Their humans pulled at the reins again, urging on the horses with clucking noises and kisses, and Syracuse and Riven reluctantly moved. They were led down a winding path, and when the road straightened out again, their humans stopped them so that they could mount.
There was no more time to admire the views once their humans were on their backs. Heels dug into their ribs as the humans nudged them into full gallops to get as far from the dreadful castle as they could.