I know people who've felt the presence of the dead and I know people who've talked to Jesus personally. I know these people and in some cases I trust these people, but in my whole life I have never had one experience myself or actually seen anyone else have one experience that demanded supernatural explanation. I have seen irrationality at work in the universe and luck, too, but no magic. The miracles I have witnessed have all been the ordinary ones - birth, springtime, the red tide, the grunion run, mountains, trees. How am I to deal with this? I could believe that the world has a magical subtext from which I am for some reason excluded. Or I could believe that these people have lied to me or, more charitably, that they were mistaken. There is simply no overestimating the gullibility of human beings and I ought to know, because I am one. But neither option appeals to me. I try instead to maintain a position I will call belieflessness. If I tell you that I don't believe in God, this is not the same as telling you I believe there is no God. Nor is this a fine distinction. *

The great ball of fire in the sky seemed to grow larger in my perception as it arced toward the horizon. The waves I oscillated upon seemed to exist in diminution to the rays of the setting sun. I've heard that the red tide can be toxic, but for me the lust of immersion was too great. How often do you get a chance to bathe in blood, let alone harness its energy?

Most hardcore surfers will tell you that the waves are best early in the morning, the wind off-shore, and the waves smooth, peeling pure potential energy. I however, being less than hardcore, enjoy the magic of the sunset.

No, not magic; normal. That crazy, beautiful kind of normal that you just can't stay away from, as I sat atop my board awash in an ocean what could very well be Christ's sweat. Shielding my eyes from the bright sun, spotting incoming waves, and then finally catching a raging force of sanguine liquid towards the shore, I drank mystical motes of the everyday ecstasy called pura vida.

As if god was attempting to overload my reality, that day I also spotted the dorsal fin peeking out of the water - coming straight at me. Now, maybe if you were some kind of cetologist you wouldn't have been worried, but I grew up with Jaws as one of my late-night viewing experiences. After the sunset, the fear only heightened the experience as what turned out to be a dolphin gained speed, charged me, and then arced out of the water, completely clearing my height, before reentering the water and swimming off as if nothing special had happened.

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom." - anonymous

* Robin Scott Wilson