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The Rhythm of Life

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

She paddled out in the early light. The sun was on the horizon with the promise of a sparkling blue day. It had just turned springtime, so was still cool at that time of the morning. It had to be the ‘wetty’ this morning she thought, even though she knew the die-hards would scoff and tease her. It was all affectionate and she took it in her stride.

They tolerated her within their hallowed ranks, an older woman, scraggly-haired with quite a few wrinkles already, out with all those rippling young bodies triggered and itching with pent up energy. They secretly admired her, she knew. Even though she was older than all their mums she was out doing what they were doing, what they loved best! They took turns showing off their latest manoeuvres and longed for her praise. For some of them, she knew, it was the only admiration they ever received.

Morning was the part of the day she loved the most. She couldn’t help but smile as she brought one arm over and through the water and then the other. Pointing the board downward she skimmed through the wave as it crested towards her. Out the other side she shook her hair free of water. It had an icy sting and the skin on her face tingled like electricity. There was an on-shore breeze and a one-metre swell. No one was on the beach where the white sand lay smooth and pristine, unmarked except for her footprints. She looked out to the blue beyond - so peaceful out there.

Fiona D'Souza

So many rhythms of life

Paradoxically, expensive turntables are manual in this day and age. Unlike cheap mass-produced fully automatic units, they require the listener to carefully raise the tonearm with an outstretched finger and gently lower the stylus onto the surface of a vinyl LP.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, an LP is a long-playing record that spins on a turntable at precisely thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute.

Once set in motion, the rotation of the turntable is constant and regulated with precision. It is as predictable as the spin of the earth on its axis. Each revolution follows one that precedes it.

Just as sunset follows sunrise follows sunset, lines of swell in the ocean bank up in anticipation, waiting their turn to arch forward until the smooth interior of emerald green curls and cascades into the shallows in a booming cacophony of white foam. that Occasionally the swell jettisons some lucky surfer in a black wetsuit across the unbroken face of the wave, into a rainbow of spray as it implodes.

The moon pulls the king tide from a dead low in the dead of night that will inevitably return. Spring follows the depths of a winter heralded by autumn. Heartbeats course blood through our veins day and night, night and day. Contractions of sex and birth tense then release. All is repeated, cyclical and rhythmical.

Or so it seems.

The repetitive nature of a vinyl record spinning on a turntable is an illusion, for it is, in reality, one long continuous groove that spirals from the edge of the disc to the centre.

Every record has a run time. The 1970 radio hit The Rhythm of Life by Diana Ross and the Supremes, along with The Temptations, runs for just four minutes and thirteen seconds.

Deep down, we all know that the rhythm of life is a one-hit-wonder. Long may it play.

Robert Carrick

Copyright: texts from the authors cited above; photos: surf mfsprout; surf & turntable Wix.

Posts on this SSOA blog are published to showcase the work of emerging writers who meet weekly to workshop stories. The posts comprise just some of the responses written in just 10 minutes as a warm up to the meetings.

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