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    « DamNation – Susitna: Alaska’s Mega Dam(n) Proposal | Main | Shutting Down or Opening Up? Reflections from Yosemite on the 16-day Government Shutdown »

    Things Unsaid

    By Belinda Baggs, photos by Adam Kobayashi

    Ak 1

    There are moments when words don’t seem to be enough, when we’re afraid they won’t do justice or that they might even scare the moment away. So instead we stay silent, keeping our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, and just hope that others feel the same.

    Sharing a sunrise, or when the sunrise is at 4:15 AM, even better, lying next to your family in bed. Watching the baby chest of your son rise and fall with each breath, his little face so peaceful, mouth a perfect outline of pink, and five perfect miniature fingers clutching tight on his dad's forearm. The creation of life is a magical thing, and sharing the love of family is incomprehensible until it’s you squashed on the edge of the bed, at peace with waves going unridden, a heartwarming glow pulsing through your body.

    As the hot, spring sun begins to radiate through the rice paper walls, a little croaky voice, with eyes still shut, utters, "beeeach, Beachhhhhh." Rayson is awake and ready to start another day.

    [Above: The second Rayson first opened his eyes to see the daylight of Chiba, Japan. It's always the best thing to wake up with a happy baby and get a morning hug.]

    A few hundred meters from our doorstep, particles of the same ocean fade out, dissolving into the shore. The sand is black but my connection to the vast Pacific remains the same. For our family, travel is a journey of the heart. Japan is kind and giving, patient, patriotic, proud and, over all else, respectful. The vast and varied coast is a treasured heaven, appreciated for every grain of sand and every droplet of water. The waves, a precious resource that bring joy and love and passion to an assortment of souls traveling from far and wide to embrace their magic.

    Today, the wind is cold and onshore from the north. The masses from Tokyo join this country town, and huddle up in a protected corner. Before noon, a blanket of surfers have sprawled across the bay. Lazy peaks push through and stand up on a shallow sand bar. Rayson plays the same as he does on any other day, on any other beach, a face full of sand and cat naps shaded by a damp towel. This is the surfing life I grew up knowing and am passing onto my son.

    For us, the sea is a way of life. It gives a sense of belonging to this world.


    Ak 12
    With a strong onshore wind blowing we decided to hit the road after breakfast and head to the other side of the peninsula. On the road to Onjuku with Uncle Fuji, Aunty Yoshie and Enzo... pick of the day!



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    Ak 20
    The surf looks good! Small and crowded but clean and peeling. Aunty Yoshie and I grab our boards.



    Ak 21
    Baby pep talk: "Play good with your daddy please!" It always breaks my heart to walk away from Rayson to surf, but it's my favorite thing to look back at the shore and see him and Adam building sand castles together.



    Ak 22
    There is a blanket of people sprawled over the sea, but being a 'surfing mom' allows no time to waste -- first wave...



    Ak 23
    ...same wave, cross steppin' down the line. I was suprised at how good these small waves actually were!



    Ak 27
    A handheld GoPro gives a more peaceful view of crowded Onjuku.



    Ak 31
    As the tide dropped and the crowd filled in even more, I waited a long time to find this wave. Nasal navigation through the crowd.



    Ak 36
    The kids played out, we retreated to the parking lot for a picnic of rice balls and vending machine drinks. So oishii!



    Ak 5


    Ak 84
    Story time with Uncle Fuji.



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    A passionate all-around surfer, bodysurfer and paddleboarder, Belinda Baggs is perhaps best known for her graceful and technically accomplished longboard style. Bindy has a wandering spirit, but her roots are on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

    This story first appeared in White Horses issue six.

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