Archive for June 2014
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
This is the story of the very first Standup Paddlesurfer! Legend has it that the very first Standup Paddlesurfer was known as “Outstanding”. This story has been passed down over many generations, through many people, and some say it may have been embellished a bit!
Outstanding loved to paddle and was known in the Village as a “Standup” person. The Village thought Outstanding was a bit strange, and wondered why anyone would choose to “Standup” on a board and paddle. They thought it was especially strange during winter storms, big surf, and in the rain. Adding to the strangeness of Standup Paddlesurfing was Outstanding’s habit of raising the “Long Paddle” and talking to the “Air” after every paddle. Because the villagers thought he was strange, they were a bit reluctant to get close to him, so they could never hear what he was saying.
One day, a Villager whose original name no one remembers, decided he also wanted to be a “Standup Paddler”! Legend has it that Outstanding helped the inquisitive Villager by sharing everything he had learned, and called the new paddler by the name everyone does remember, “Paddles a Lot”. As time went on Paddles a Lot, which was a mouthful to say, became known by his short name, “Pal”! Pal was a sponge and learned quickly. The two became fast friends and many believe their friendship is where the phrase “Hey Pal” originated. Outstanding even taught Pal to raise the “Long Paddle” and talk to the “Air” after a paddle! After Pal, the Villagers had two “Standup Paddlers” they thought were a bit strange!
After a time, Outstanding and Pal became inseparable. The two of them would go on to share their passion for “Standup Paddle Surfing” with many Villagers during their lifetimes. The only thing they ever asked for in return from those who learned was to share “Standup Paddlesurfing” with anyone who asked! “All Who Paddle” were also taught to raise the “Long Paddle” and talk to the “Air” after a paddle, a tradition that continues to this day. The Villagers still find this custom a bit strange, although they are not as freaked out now that there are so many more who raise the Long Paddle!
Outstanding was the first of a long line of Paddlers to raise the “Long Paddle” and talk to the “Air” after every paddle. Paddles a Lot was the first to learn that raising the “Long Paddle” and talking to the “Air” was done out of gratitude to thank the “Creator” for the “10,000 Things”, and with great ceremony to let all the Villagers know how grateful the paddlers were! It was also done to show any Villagers watching from shore that the paddlers came in friendship, joy and peace! This practice gradually came to be known as “Paddles Up” and the sight of a paddle with the blade side up is universally known, all thanks to Outstanding! “All Who Paddle” continue the tradition to this day to remember the very first Standup Paddlesurfer, “Outstanding”, to express their gratitude, and because it just makes sense!
Join Us for World Paddle For The Planet September 13, 2014, Tofino, British Columbia! Join anywhere in the world at noon and lets send a Wave of Change around the globe!
Enjoy episode 2 of Coastal Dune Lakes by Live Oak Production Group, producer/cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus, scriptwriter/photographer Nic Stoltzfus, and editor/musician Joey Dickinson. Interviews with locals of South Walton, Florida home of 15 coastal dune lakes.
Positive Press 30A by Belle Anne Butler
After recording Positive Press 30A’s radio debut with partner Leslie Kolovich, I took musician and friend Marc Harris on his first ever Stand Up Paddle Board adventure to Western Lake. If you were able to catch the show, you heard Marc describe what a special and powerful body of water he finds Western Lake to be. At one point in our conversation, he said that back in the day when he questioned why he lived here, a question usually relating to work, he only had to visit Western Lake to remember why.
This has been true for me too! Whether I’m driving or running by it, or I’m on a board checking out the changes and spotting its familiar birds, Western Lake never fails to at once feel like home and someplace totally new. Marc and I put our boards in at Grayton Beach just down the road from The Red Bar. He pushed out, got to his feet, sturdied himself, and another fan of Stand Up Paddle Boarding was born. We were taking our weather chances with a nice storm in the morning, a few rumbling clouds still hanging around, and enough wind to make the paddle slightly interesting and challenging for a first day out.
In Leslie’s studio earlier that day, Marc played for us his song, “Slow Down,You’re Here”, and it had been on loop in my head ever since. Always impatient, in a hurry, or anxious about what has happened or will, we often forget to see how fabulous it is in the present. On this day, I wasn’t doing that. It was Friday the 13th, a full moon, and I was paddling on Western Lake having great conversation about music and nature, with the chorus of Marc’s song in the background of my mind. The Birmingham Weekly referred to Harris’ music as a “mix of renegade country with beach-tinged acoustic tunes.” I had heard Marc and Jab Wilson play at Grayt Grounds a week or so before, and I instantly recognized something I liked in their music that was smooth, slightly twangy, and easy. Having played clubs in Memphis since he was 15, to living in Nashville and Birmingham, to our very own Santa Rosa Beach, Marc’s music is a sweet cocktail of influences and sounds resulting in what one of his close local friends dubbed as “Southern Surf”.
From the put-in at Grayton Beach, we paddled toward the gulf via that beautiful curvy inlet that meanders past the dunes, a giant S whose form is never quite the same, as water pushes and pulls, and covers and exposes the sand and its grasses. It’s such a pretty stretch of water where it reddens from tannin as it nears the gulf, truly one of those places that inspires people to learn more about it and how to protect it. As Marc later put it, “that body of water and everything surrounding it can be a catalyst and an icon that symbolizes what life there (here) can be like.”
Marc and I made our way through the little inlets that lead to the Grayton State Park Bridge. Those narrow little passes make it easy to slow down and listen to the sounds of Western Lake, like the birds and the wind through the sea grasses. The birds of Western Lake are amazing! I have lived here right at one year, and in that time have recognized certain birds and in which seasons they call this dune lake “home”. The bald eagle that rests in the dead trees on the northern side of 30A at Western Lake, the baby cormorants that were peppered throughout the lake in the fall, the herons, especially the scruffy salty dog heron that fishes at the pier, and countless others, are a gift to be able not only to see, but also to take life lessons from. As we paddled across the expansive dome of Western Lake, the sun came out and brought some serious wind with it. We continued under the 30A bridge, welcomed on the other side by a sea of lily pads and lotus flowers.
In our conversation that morning, Leslie, Marc, and I had touched on what spectacular muses the water in it many forms, the forests, and wildlife in our area are. The natural beauty here no doubt helps account for why this small space of the panhandle is such a hotbed for creative original work. I’ve noticed in travels before, how geography can affect the art that’s born in it. I see a unique quality in the art created here too, from jewelry to paintings to architecture, and definitely in music, a strain of something wild with a not-so-subtle element of beauty. Marc’s songwriting, guitar playing, and voice belong in this category.
We made it back to our put in, loaded up the boards, and walked to Shorty’s for a beer. One of the takeaways Marc had from our excursion was the nature of constant change. Expressing himself like a true artist, Marc described how powerful a lesson it is for us to see how gracefully nature accepts change, whether it’s the birds or the gators, or the sea grasses; what doesn’t change is “stagnant”. A four letter word for some of us. Change makes way for what’s next, what’s new, what’s healthy, and what we’ve been working towards.
It was a perfect day to launch Positive Press 30A, and to introduce Marc to paddling amidst the sights and sounds of Western Lake’s interior. The grasses had their sound, the birds had theirs, and I still had the song on my mind… “There’s nowhere we’re going with this new breeze blowing- Slow Down You’re Here.”
To listen to the podcast with Marc, Leslie and Belle click here
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
I do believe the time has come to talk about beliefs! Beliefs have shaped us for millennia, maybe it’s time to check in and see if our beliefs serve a relevant purpose in today’s World.
Belief , according to the dictionary, is, a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone.
Belief, according to Natalie Cook, 5 time Olympian Beach Volleyball Player, who I recently met, is, a thought that we have over and over.
Belief, according to me, is a multilayered thing. I believe beliefs evoke powerful feelings. Is belief an internal mechanism, or are beliefs externally imposed by those around us? If belief is a thought we have over and over, can we change our beliefs by changing our thoughts? How do we define something that is true? Or good? Or right? Or valuable? It appears to me that beliefs are open to interpretation!
I really like Natalie’s definition!
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Is that a belief? Is that a statement of truth? Is it right? Let’s see if we can come to a conclusion by visiting a distance most of us can recognize, if not relate to, the distance between our heads and our hearts. Physically the straight line distance between our heads and our hearts is relatively short. If we look a bit deeper and define what’s in our heads, and in our hearts, that line becomes somewhat blurred. Our heads represent the intellect we all have in varying degrees. Our intellect thrives on complex problems and challenges. Should I buy the chocolate cake or the crab cake? How long will it take to drive from home to work, will I have time to buy coffee on the way, latte or americano, is there enough gas to make it all the way, should I answer that text while I’m driving, shoot I left my lunch at home, etc, etc, etc… Our heart thrives when we pay attention to our feelings. Emotional, our hearts are. Compassion, love, joy, happiness, etc. are all domains of the heart.
The line between the head and the heart becomes blurred when time is introduced into the equation. The element of time begs consideration, how long will it take to connect the mind with the heart? What kind of epic journey might this entail? Is it even necessary to connect the mind with the heart? What beliefs might we encounter along the Way?
At the risk of alienating 70% of the Planet, religion appears to rely heavily on beliefs. Religion has given us deeply rooted beliefs, beliefs that many proponents do not question. I have some questions. Did Jesus Christ die on the cross for our sins, or was he simply executed for going against the grain, daring to present a Way of life at the time that ran contrary to the decision makers of the day? If he died on the cross for our sins, does that mean we are an inherently bad and evil species? If we are an inherently bad and evil species, is that a function of the head, or the heart? Are the challenges we face today a function of being an inherently bad and evil species? How many wars have been fought in the name of religion, and do we want to continue the practice of war? What part of war is a function of belief, and what part is a function of something else? Who believes climate change is real? Who believes climate change is a bunch of malarkey? Who is right? What belief system created colonialism? Do our politics today reflect the beliefs of the majority? Do we want to perpetuate (to cause (something that should be stopped, such as a mistaken idea or a bad situation) to continue) these things into the future for our Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandchildren? Are the challenges we face today a function of our beliefs, many of those beliefs so deeply rooted that we don’t even question them?
My name is Bob Purdy, I am the “Standup PaddleSurfing, Elder in Training” from “Paddle for the Planet”. I believe part of my job as an “Elder in Training” is to stir the pot once in a while! It is my belief that belief in our beliefs are doing a number on us! Can we create a better World just by changing our beliefs? I believe we can!… It is my belief that if we make that epic journey to connect to our hearts we will know the right thing to do, because the right thing to do is written in our hearts!…
Join us for World Paddle For The Planet September 13, in Tofino British Columbia or on your own water starting at noon. Together we will send a Wave of Change across the globe!
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
I tend to write a lot about how living lives full of purpose leads us to lives lived in harmony with the planet. In so many ways I think that’s a much better path to follow than one where we sweat the tiniest details in hopes that using fewer of whatever product will lead to a more environmental life.
When we find and honor our own unique purpose for existence, we naturally come into lives that respect the Earth. That’s because if we don’t realize and live that purpose, we seek something to make-up for the void, leading us to overconsumption–big homes, cars, and all kinds of other harmful distractions.
Since we are strongly social creatures, fully realizing our purpose for existence almost always involves working cooperatively with others. I’ve found that one of the keys to having meaningful social interaction and being involved in community life is to have a favorite place to go where we can have that needed informal social contact.
Sociologist Ray Oldenburg called it a “third place”, with our first place being home and second place being the workplace. The third place is where people come together informally and it is accessible to all, like a neighborhood pub or café. The fact that people are outside the personal space of home makes it in many ways an easier place to interact more freely, removing the formality of host and guest and putting all on an equal footing.
For me, the vegan café three blocks from my home is my third place, and it’s where I sit at this writing. I come here often to relax, dine, and work on projects away from the distractions of home.
The neutral and welcoming space, the healthy food and people, the positive energy of those who come here—all of this creates a comfortable space where it’s easy and fun to be with others. While I’m here I run into friends, meet new people, and carry-on conversations with others also working to improve our community. New ideas get introduced, relationships begin, friendships blossom, and alliances are made that bring people together to move ideas forward.
We all need friends and allies to help us realize our fullest potential—to work with us on our projects and simply to love and support us. Finding or creating your own third place can be a great help in getting there.
Through the years I have held many dozens of community meetings at my little vegan café, in some small way helping to bring together caring people who have helped make it into the wonderful third place that I enjoy today. And with a broader definition of third place it’s within the power of all of us to create places where we gather and nurture community.
Put out a pitcher of iced tea and some chairs and create a gathering with friends on a front yard or porch where passersby can stop and join the conversation. Help a neighborhood business build an outdoor sitting area where neighbors can visit. Plant a garden or interesting sculpture in your front yard to attract people and encourage them to stop and chat. Finding or creating your own third place brings the bounty of good people into your life and helps create an even better relationship with our life-sustaining planet.