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Our Town – October 7, 2021

| Guest Written, Nan Metashvili, Our Town, Surfing | October 7, 2021

The Soupster glimpses a legendary creature.

Submitted by Nan Metashvili

It was not a particularly nice day. The autumnal equinox – “Mabon” say the Welsh – had passed and termination dust was sprinkled like powdered sugar on fry bread. The waves out at the beach were as perfect as joy sung in four-part harmony.

But it wasn’t a bad day, either. The grey skies shone like Qatari pearls. Seagulls were preening their feathers and seemed ready to break into an avian fandango.

By the beach, an intrepid band of surfers gathered, counting seconds, peering both at the waves and ( as modern surfer dudes do ) at the surfing apps on their mobiles.

Then, when the opportune time came, they waded out and dove into the chill waters, paddling like happy black labs, aiming to catch the perfect wave.

The Soupster, back on shore, shivered a bit at the thought of that cold water. Groups of watchers stood and cheered, as the swimmers stood aloft and rode the waves in. Or not. More than one dude or dudette lost their balance and went in.

The waves lasted and seemed to become higher and more perfect, and an air of exuberance and slight mania overtook the afternoon. On shore, fires were lit to heat coffee and grill fish, as the afternoon became an impromptu festival of magic, always tinged with the slight frisson of danger.

And then danger came. A wave broke early, and one person was caught wrong, and hurled away, under, looking broken and gone. Onlookers gasped and screamed, and those nearby began to swim towards where the surfer had last been seen. The sea was a barren emptiness, no sign of the missing surfer, merely an empty board being tossed about like a kelp strand. A sea lion poked its snout above the waves, then also disappeared.

The sky blackened, and dread held sway on the crowd. The Soupster frantically looked around, desperate for someone to do something. Anyone, do something.

And Anyone came. A sleek form came sliding over the sea, flippers graceful, form vibrating with power and radiating competent intent.

The form dove, and was away – oh, away under the sea – for heart-stopping moments. Then, like an underwater miracle erupting into dry air, the selkie resurfaced, and not alone. A limp and coughing dudette was brought to shore, and her friends raced to warm her, get her breathing and breathe again themselves. No one seemed to notice when her rescuer re-slipped underneath the water and was seen no more. The happiness was contagious, and a mood of euphoria swept over the group, weeping and fear gone. A longhaired girl began softly beating a drum, and humming.

From the cold waters of Orkney to the cold waters of Sitka, the tune is known. “I am a man, upon dry land, I am a selkie, in the sea…” The tune harmonized with the sound of the cold Pacific waters, and as the tide came in, folks moved away. The memory of the close call faded away with the scudding clouds, and only the memory of another fine surfing day remained.

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Would you like to create an Our Town?

The Sitka Soup would welcome an infusion of “new blood.” You may tell your story in words (450-500 of them), or as a graphic “cartoon” strip. We would even consider a short original photo essay with B&W photos. Your Our Town must be closely connected with the life of Sitkans, and the Soupster must make an appearance, even if it’s a brief one.

If we run your Our Town, we’ll pay you $50. To submit: Email your creation to shop@sitkasoup.com and put “Our Town” in the Subject line. Or call: 747-7595.

What is Our Town?

Our Town is a bi-weekly column that tracks the life of the Soupster and his friends and neighbors.

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

The first Our Town was published December 22, 1999.

Read Our Towns published before February 2009 HERE.

Who is the Soupster?

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

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