Monday, February 8, 2016

Evanston: STORM SURFERS, Gulley Jimson, stairwells, and age

        A couple of things have made me aware of my age recently.
        One is an Australian film, STORM SURFERS, which we watched a few nights ago streamed on NetFlix.
        Released in 2012 it follows Tom Carroll, who was a surfing world champion back in the 1980s, and another guy seeking big waves around Australia.  I’m not bothering with the other guy’s name.  He is a merely a not very impressive or intelligent thrill seeker.
        When the movie was being filmed, Tom Carroll was nearing fifty, the father of three daughters, and wondering about the risks he was taking and how much longer he would be able to do so.
        Several things struck me about the film.
        First, the enormous amount of equipment and money used to make it.  Ships, helicopters, jet skis, trucks, cars, cameras, and a horde of people.  These were not just a couple of guys going out to catch a few waves.
        A second was the quality of the photography.  Surfing photographers get amazing images.
        And third was a comment made only once in passing, that some younger surfers are opposed to being towed onto waves by jet skis.  I’m with them.  If you can’t catch a wave by yourself, maybe you shouldn’t catch it.
        And last, naturally, was to compare Tom Carroll nearing age fifty and myself at seventy-four.  I have thoughts, but no conclusions. 
        I had to go to the poetry page of this site to find when I wrote

                the ocean waits
                to measure or to slay me
                the ocean waits
                and I will sail

        They are dated 1978.  And I like to believe the I am still living them in 2016.
        I hope you will forgive my Immodesty, but I think I have won the game.  I’ve measured up pretty well, and now, as the song says, I’m too old to die young.
        Having pretty much finished with A SINGLE WAVE—I’m letting it sit for a few days before taking a final look—I’ve resumed reading Joyce Cary’s A HORSE’S MOUTH, which I have mentioned before as being my favorite novel about an artist.
        I read it the first time after seeing the film version starring Alec Guinness as Gulley Jimson in 1958.  I was a teenager then.  I’ve since read the novel twice more.  Always I’ve thought of Gulley Jimson as an old man, and, though vital and still creative, he is.  As I’ve just read, at the time the novel takes place Gulley Jimson is sixty-seven years old.  This is my first reading when I’m older than he and look back at his age rather than far forward.

        Yesterday I shattered my personal best for the stairwell climb, lowering it to 34 seconds from 42.  However, I took the stairs two at a time, which may be a different event.  
        Please do not dwell on the ludicrous image of an old man racing himself up five flights of stairs. 


        After the last entry, Tom wrote suggesting that I consider a bivy for GANNET.  It is a good idea, and perhaps I should have mentioned in that entry that, following Steve Earley’s example and advice, I already have one aboard, though I have never used it.
        I happened across the foil sleeping bag at Amazon while looking for something else.  Is is small, light and cheap, so I bought it.

        Ryan Finn has posted his day’s runs in his proa, JZERRO, with approximate average wind speeds and angles that interest and impress me and may interest some of you.  The boat moves.