"Get ready to paddle; that wave is going to be a good one," said our guide.
Looking over my shoulder, I could only see a vast expanse of flat turquoise water. Seconds later I was atop a sizeable swell, experiencing a fleeting moment of exhilarating uprightness.
Later, sitting serenely on the once-again placid ocean, legs dangling off of my board into the warm water, I asked our instructor, “How did you see that wave coming?” “I was looking at the same body of water, in the same direction, and I didn’t see anything.”
After 20 years of surfing, he shared, he had learned to see the subtle swells and the different shapes that they took. He was able to perceive variations that were unperceivable to me–differences that told him which way a wave would break and/or how large it might be.
My instructor understood the visual language of the water; I was a foreigner here.
A bit later, as we paddled back into shore, the briny sea spray stinging my eyes and temporarily clouding my vision, I was reminded that the world is full of things that I look at but don’t see.
Like the ocean waves, nature is speaking in exquisite ways.
And I thought I was just going to learn how to surf.