By Belinda Baggs, photos by Adam Kobayashi
There are moments when words don’t seem to be enough, when we’re afraid they won’t do justice or that they might even scare the moment away. So instead we stay silent, keeping our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, and just hope that others feel the same.
Sharing a sunrise, or when the sunrise is at 4:15 AM, even better, lying next to your family in bed. Watching the baby chest of your son rise and fall with each breath, his little face so peaceful, mouth a perfect outline of pink, and five perfect miniature fingers clutching tight on his dad's forearm. The creation of life is a magical thing, and sharing the love of family is incomprehensible until it’s you squashed on the edge of the bed, at peace with waves going unridden, a heartwarming glow pulsing through your body.
As the hot, spring sun begins to radiate through the rice paper walls, a little croaky voice, with eyes still shut, utters, "beeeach, Beachhhhhh." Rayson is awake and ready to start another day.
[Above: The second Rayson first opened his eyes to see the daylight of Chiba, Japan. It's always the best thing to wake up with a happy baby and get a morning hug.]
A few hundred meters from our doorstep, particles of the same ocean fade out, dissolving into the shore. The sand is black but my connection to the vast Pacific remains the same. For our family, travel is a journey of the heart. Japan is kind and giving, patient, patriotic, proud and, over all else, respectful. The vast and varied coast is a treasured heaven, appreciated for every grain of sand and every droplet of water. The waves, a precious resource that bring joy and love and passion to an assortment of souls traveling from far and wide to embrace their magic.
Today, the wind is cold and onshore from the north. The masses from Tokyo join this country town, and huddle up in a protected corner. Before noon, a blanket of surfers have sprawled across the bay. Lazy peaks push through and stand up on a shallow sand bar. Rayson plays the same as he does on any other day, on any other beach, a face full of sand and cat naps shaded by a damp towel. This is the surfing life I grew up knowing and am passing onto my son.
For us, the sea is a way of life. It gives a sense of belonging to this world.
A passionate all-around surfer, bodysurfer and paddleboarder, Belinda Baggs is perhaps best known for her graceful and technically accomplished longboard style. Bindy has a wandering spirit, but her roots are on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
This story first appeared in White Horses issue six.