Kitemare Induction

Before the fall.

Along with ample inspiration I returned to Baja from the San Francisco Writers Conference with a horrific, body-wracking cold that made it impossible to get my daily fix of liquid caresses. Nineteen days out of the water.  That’s how long I‘d been out of the water as of last Saturday. I hadn’t surfed or kiteboarded or even dipped a toe in the ocean since the 12th of February. It’s a miracle I didn’t dry up and blow away.

Funny thing though, I didn’t miss it while I was eyeballs deep in the conference, nor when I was bedridden and unable to remember what day it was, but once I started feeling better, I became aware of a mounting physical tension. It was more than just tension, it was a longing, akin to that sexual yearning that sits somewhere between the pit of the stomach and the genitals. It had that same deep down, heaviness about it, that I imagine is the physical equivalent of the sound of a long, slow stroke of a low C note on the cello.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon when the wind was blowing 25 knots out of the North it was more than I could bear. I still wasn’t feeling a 100%, but reasoned that the inevitable salt water nasal lavage would do my sinuses good. A rationalization perhaps.

My parents happen to be visiting from Canada and my father agreed to take some video of me kiting so I could evaluate and improve my technique.

I launched just North of the house. When the sea enveloped my feet, I shivered in response. It was as though I was returning to a safe haven, my home.

I took off flying across the sea, giddy with exhilaration and gradually made my way South towards the house so that my dad could get some good footage. I laughed out loud as I made a couple of jumps, then laughed harder when I got the desired nasal cleanse from a particularly dramatic wipe-out.

And then my kite fell out of the sky.

I looked around me in amazement, wondering what had happened to the wind. Just like that, it had died. And I was a good mile out at sea while my parents stood on the patio and watched, not knowing what was happening or whether I knew how to get back to the beach.

That’s when it occurred to me that I should have let them know that this kind of things happens once in a while and that I have thus far been capable of getting myself back to shore even if the kite isn’t flyable. What’s that they say about hind sight?

I imagined them watching me through the binoculars and went to work trying to relaunch the kite. But it wouldn’t launch. It was being buffeted by what I now realized was a South breeze that was competing with the Northerly. The kite shifted back and forth and then, as the South breeze won out over the North, the kite swung around to the North. Just as I started to relaunch using the slight South wind, the North wind regained ground and pushed the kite towards me. The lines went limp and as I tried to retreat from the kite, the lines crossed and tangled and the kite flipped over. The chance of relaunching it had, like the North wind before it, died.

As time ticked on, a different kind of tension rose in my body as I imagined panic rising in my parents and the conversation they were likely having.  My Mom would be first to give their feeling voice, “What’s taking so long? Why isn’t the kite back up and flying yet? She’s so far out.” And my father, trying to remain calm in the face of my mother’s vociferousness, would tersely instruct her to be patient.  When she said what they both were thinking, “What if she can’t get back? She’s out there all by herself and there’s no one with a boat to go get her!”  He likely felt the panic rise in his chest in the way that only a parent knows. The last straw came when the kite flipped and flopped around as I tried to get it positioned to drag me in to shore, concealing me wholly and at times beneath it. That’s probably when he marched over to my neighbor’s house, whom he knew kites, to ask him for help.

But Walker wasn’t home. What my father didn’t know was that Walker was already paddling out on a longboard to see if I needed help getting back in.

I normally would have insisted on getting back in on my own, but knowing that my parents were up on that hillside patio freaking out, I decided this was no time to assert my pride and independence.

They were on the beach when I finally got back in, the waterlogged kite taking a beating in the shorebreak as I unsuccessfully tried to haul it out gracefully. It was easy to read the degree of relief on their faces as they greeted me. I apologized and told them how terrible I felt for putting them through such anguish.

My mother only recently stopped having a recurring nightmare ten years after I drove her and my father along the windy, narrow section of Mex Highway 1 that traverses the mountain range between Cabo Pulmo and La Paz. I’d made the mistake of driving it like the adrenaline junky that I am, quickly, with her and my dad squeezed onto the narrow bench seat, our elbows knocking and the stick hitting her leg every time I shifted into fourth gear. The nightmares always ended with me driving my truck off one of the many cliffs hugging the edge of the road and plummeting to my death.

I wonder how long the nightmares will last this time?

6 thoughts on “Kitemare Induction

  1. Yikes, ur brave. I wanna be like you, chuck it all and move to the beach, maybe I’m not at all
    as independent as you are, but I’m jumping out of a marriage of 21 years and hoping to land on my feet. I’m a writer, too, with one book out The Shadow of a Dog I Can’t Forget
    and two more I’m hoping to finish soon, The Girl With Sand in Her Hair, a novella,
    and Night Surfing, a novel. I live in the Bay Area for now. It was a great idea you had
    volunteering for the conference. I may try that sometime myself. So glad ur safe…


    Mary Kennedy Eastham
    Facebook/MaryKennedy Eastham

    • Mary! Thank you so much for your feedback. And congrats on your published book – I LOVE the title and am running on over to Amazon now to get a copy. The other titles are super intriguing to me as well (naturally). I come to the Bay Area often, perhaps we can hook up! I need more writers in my life.

      I hope you like my blog and will consider following it. You know how it is, building the platform and all!! 🙂

      Peace & good waves,

      • Dawn – I knew we would be a good connection! I’m trying to be what you are – free!
        It’s taking me a while – I have four Golden Retrievers – my heartloves – but they take up a
        LOT of my time. My Dad lives in Boston and would COMPLETELY FREAK OUT if I moved
        to the beach near you, which I am telling my friends I’m doing and I’m only half kidding!
        Ur an angel for buying my book. I would love for you to do a review for me on Amazon.
        I have spent the past two hours trying to figure out WHY I don’t have access to what so many seem to on Amazon and I think it’s b/c I’m still an unknown. So my whole goal this
        week is to get more people to know about me. Lemme know when ur in the Bay Area.
        I have a huge old house here in San Jose which I’m waiting for the market to pick up to sell, so if u could tolerate the Golden’s, they’re actually a hoot, ur welcome anytime! xo

        Peace and good waves back to you. I’m dying to try SUP!!!

  2. Dear Mary,
    I too was a woman tied to a man, a place, two dogs and a career. In 2000, I left it all and moved to Mexico. It was the best decision I ever made. I now have SIX dogs, so your four would be easily tolerated and love my chosen home like I never imagined was possible. Yes, dare to dream. If you’re dying to try SUP, then GO DO IT!! There are lots of schools in your area.

    Regarding getting your work better know – go online and research “building your platform.” There is a TON of information on the net about what to do to build your following. One way is to create a blog. So come on over and join us here at WordPress. I look forward to reading your posts!

    • I had a blog THE ONE & ONLY MARY but it was taking away from my writing.
      I’m a great writer, but a slow one, it takes me FOREVER to finish a book. Last year
      I made the decision to Guest Blog on other writer’s blogs which is great, although that takes up so much time, too! I’m working on two Guest blog posts as we speak. YES, I do need
      to SUP, even if the water here is so cold. I’m in good shape, I work-out most days,
      so hopefully I won’t fall in. I’ll crack you up with this: I have a Bosu, I turn it over, stand on
      it and with a real SUP paddle pretend I’m paddling in the water when I’m really paddling air!
      I know, I’m a nutcase, but a fun one!!! xo…oh, what great writers did you meet at the
      SF conference?

  3. Ha ha! We’ll have to create the “Slow Writer’s Club.” I’m a member for sure! And yes, the downside of blogging is that it takes time away from the principal WIP, which as my idol Henry Miller would say should be our MAIN focus (to paraphrase, he said, write first, work on one project at a time only, if time permits paint or socialize in the afternoon.) Good for you doing the Wii version of SUP – that is so cool!! And yes, funny to picture too.

    Good writers? Well, prob the person that blew me away the most was Drew Dellinger (author of Love Letter to the Milky Way: a book of poems, with his spoken word poetry – words as music has always been my thing – I’m a big Gil Scott Heron fan and just this evening (through Upaya podcasts) became aquainted with Jimmy Santiago Baca (author of A Glass of Water,, who shares Drew’s poetry slam style of delivery. They both had the same effect on me – got me feeling aggressive and emotional and wanting to yell my feelings to the world in my writing. As Jimmy says creating myself through the words. So amazing, so inspiring.

    I also met Marty Castleberg, author of Daveland (, his travelogue memoir audiobook about living with severe dyslexia, being labelled retarded as a child and then going on to get a PhD in engineering….Marty introduced me to Frances Lefkowitz (, who wrote “To Have Not,” which is the incredibly touching and poignant and beautifully written memoir of growing up poor in San Francisco. She was incredibly generous to have given me a copy at the end of our meeting. I will be writing a review here soon. I hope you’ll pick her book up.

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