Journey to the Land of the Chumash: A Surf Tale -By Dancing Dear Man

I hid in “Pistachio” (The name of my camper) as a short lived but nonetheless heavy rain dripped through the surfboard rack modification I’d done to the roof.  More 5200 sealant would  definitely fix the problem.  I thought.  The rain ceased at sunset and I searched the area for wood to build a fire.  Songs that I hadn’t been able to remember for years flowed through my guitar before the campfire.  That next morning fresh trails from the runoff the night before exposed previously covered stones.   I picked up a broken piece from a clay pot overlooking the surf break.  Imagine hands from hundreds maybe thousands of years ago shaping the piece that I held in my hand.  I could almost feel precision of those hands and imagined traveling back in time to their time of existence.

Desire to live at peace with nature causes us to idealize the natives who come out in our dreams.  Now suppose those dreams, mere shadows always out of reach, become reality.  We burn the green grass in our fires and search for that infinite force from the sea that has always blessed the land of the Chumash.

I set out on my bicycle with my twin fin surfboard tucked beneath my arm climbing the hills in high gear on the wave hunt.  Offshore winds subsided as I climbed above the valley and for the first time that day I could feel the heat of the sun.  After stripping off my sweatshirt and t-shirt it seemed like a good idea to take a picture as I rode down the path.  With board in one arm and camera in the other hand I rode with no hands on the bars.  Looking through the view finder of the camera caused me to loose my balance and suddenly I was veering off the road. Moments before the crash Holding my camera high I swung my body to the right which sent me heading off the other side of the path.  Without any hands to hit the breaks I found myself in a dangerous position.  I overcorrected to the left and now I was completely out of control.  For a moment I thought about bailing off the back of the bike but from prior experience I’ve found it better to go down with the ship.  There was no coming back now.  I went off the pavement over down the dirt hill and into the bushes.  I laid there for a moment to assess the damage.  My hand still held the camera in the air keeping it safe from the impact.  My body lay over the board in its back cushioned by the bush.   The only pain I had was from a few stickers from the bush.  I got lucky.

Looking back on the event I can’t quite remember if the rest of this was true or not.  I ran into some sort of obstruction on the trail imagining some empty Chumash reef that has broken for millions of years.   I thought back to an old friend of mine who moved to Hawaii who used to discover hidden waves right beneath our noses.  With no one around I stripped down on the beach and put on my suit.  The sting of the Icy water up-welling off Point Conception felt amazing combined with the roasting sun.  I can’t imagine how Bev Morgan and the boys must have felt pulling up to RIncon for the first time.  After a few hours I was curious to see what was happening further on down the road.

After singing a  few songs on the empty road I reentered civilization…

And Left…

2 thoughts on “Journey to the Land of the Chumash: A Surf Tale -By Dancing Dear Man

  1. Great read. Thank you! I have spent quite a bit of time on what was/is called the Bixby Ranch. Before it got sold a few years ago I was able to get one 3 day pass per year and I was allowed to drive a small rented camper in and camp at places like Government Point, Coho Point etc. It was SO amazing especially at times when it was just me, my friends, great waves, offshore winds and small artifacts left by the Chumash people in ancient times. I believe that Pt Conception was/is the center of the Chumash universe. The area is magical and I can understand why it is so sacred to the Chumash…
    Thanks again for your story. Glad you didn’t suffer more from your bile accident!
    SS

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