Not to sound too OB... but the ocean really is a perfect balance of karmic energy. Wait, wait... let me explain. The ying and yang... no, no. The universal balance... um, what I mean is... the ocean has a way of giving you heaven and hell all swirled into one. And you can usually expect to get one delivered swiftly after the other.

The ocean and I often have a love hate relationship, like an old frenemy that I can't seem to break up with. And it seems I'm not the only wahine caught in this middle school game of give and take.

The perfect day of surfing this weekend came with some dues that had to be paid. Ten of us spent the day playing in clear, turquoise water rolling with gentle knee-high peelers. We'd venture out only to take a nap under a tree or scarf down a fresh halibut or steak taco. The sun was shining, the waves were easy, and the silliness abounded.

But the ocean doesn't just give summer bliss unendingly. My roommate paid hers first, getting stung by a stingray five minutes into our first surfing session. We weren't even waist deep when she felt that unmistakable pinch in her foot, then the throbbing tingle of poison swirling up her veins. She spent the next hour and a half soaking in a bucket of hot water waiting for the pain to wear off so we could all venture back out into the sun.

Coincidence, you may be saying. Everyone eventually gets stung by some sort of ocean creature if you spend enough time flailing around in their territory. But I couldn't help but consider the noteworthy day of good rides my roomie had just enjoyed a few weeks ago, in which she boldly paddled for waves I was too scared to attempt and was rewarded with speedy rides down their curling faces. "Her time had come, hadn't it ocean?" I couldn't resist thinking. (Poor girl must have really had a good surf session that day, because the ocean also paid her back with a bout of nausea and a little fish-calling on shore.)

Slowly, as the misfortunes piled up, I began to panic. Earlier this week, I had been swimming in the euphoria of back-to-back surf days where I felt unstoppable. The waves were peeling just the way I liked, their gentle crumbly peaks were easy to paddle into on my longboard, and each day I had practically floated back to shore elated at catching so many waves that I couldn't keep count. Clearly, my time is due.

I have mild anxiety and deep water happens to be an old childhood fear of mine that I aggressively battle to suppress. What was I thinking?! Having so much fun! I have obviously lined myself up for a karmic bitch slap and the ocean is a fickle mistress with a short temper.

Now here I am, trapped in ocean purgatory. Not wanting to go back to my big blue frenemy for fear of what's waiting, but unable to stay away, lured by memories of all our good times together. This weekend was pure delight, but my luck has probably run out. I'm panicking about our next surf day and the foamy punch in the face that's obviously waiting for me, like so many times before. Still, I'm already making plans to surf on Friday. I suppose frenemies are like that.


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