reflections from the southeast PA rural underground

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What it means to be a skateboarder


The skateboarder is a man or woman who knows no limits. There is a usual starting age but no stopping age after one begins to ride. A skateboarder is a rider. He/she knows what this means in all facets. To ride is to live. I repeat, to ride is to live. Harley Davidson has made millions off this slogan but they will have to excuse the borrowed expression just this once. The skateboarder is his or her own engine. The skateboarder sees all living, in part, as part of riding. This is both figurative and literal. Once on the board, all else is periphery. Landscape becomes blurred and clear at once. The soul that does not exist expounds. Speed is at the fore-frunt. The body is stationary and moving all at once above the wood and the wheels going faster and faster below the feet. The motion is life. The person becomes the Rider. The skateboarder feels the carve of a good ride. All small moments become one wave.

The skateboarder may break but will not bend. He/She may encounter severe pain and will love this and hate it. The hatred will come from an anxiety that seeps into the heart once the skater can see future limits that will be placed on their body's ability to skate. The injury is an unresolved, open-ended anticipation and fear. The love will flash in all power and beauty and endorphins and sweat and bone and blood and skin and hair as the pain is blocked and numbed just enough to be physically bearable and enjoyable. The skater has touched life again. The spontaneity and uncertainty has come roaring back once again. This can and does become an addiction for the skateboarder.

The skateboarder doesn't reach for Zen. The skateboarder is Zen. The skateboarder becomes Zen. The skateboarder has so much of the soul that is not there. The non-skateboarder will see this in pop-culture forms and be sickened, frightened, jealous, amazed or mute. The skateboarder's ride is always in the consciousness right in the back seat of their mind. The small seed that is regenerating all the time. The job or person or situation or sadness or accomplishment does not turn this off ever.

Photo by Richard Wacker who teaches art in Philadelphia.

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