A Living Death

My encounter with the ancient ritual of Ayahuasca ceremony.

Originally published in Santa Cruz Waves Magazine

Help, I say silently. Or maybe out loud. It’s hard to know for certain. And though I am in the middle of an ayahuasca ceremony, it’s hard to know exactly where I am—not only in relation to the door, but also to my body. I’ve lost track of it, and I’m terrified it might urinate or vomit or do something equally horrifying all over the floor of the temple and the 20 other participants inside of it. I’m on the verge of a full-blown panic attack when several pairs of hands lift me up and carry me outside.

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Faces of Surf: Julie Cox

Originally published in Santa Cruz Waves Magazine.

Julie Cox glides smoothly down the rocky staircase at Steamer Lane. It’s May 27, 2017, and she’s about to compete in the Santa Cruz Longboard Union Memorial Day Invitational for Pedro Point Surf Club. A purple longboard is tucked under her arm, a single fin from the Jule Collection, the line of jewel-inspired surfboards she launched in 2005. In addition to a successful career as a professional surfer, Cox has an impressive track record as an entrepreneur: her most recent endeavor is Traveler Surf & Swim Club, which offers a warm haven from the cold waters of Pacifica.

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The Azulita Project

I have a vivid memory of a young boy throwing trash out the window of a bus in Mexico. Piece by piece, his mother handed him a plastic shopping bag, a food wrapper, a Styrofoam plate, a fork, a plastic water bottle. Each item twirled briefly in the air before settling on the side of the road, amidst piles of colorful and stinking detritus. The little boy squealed with delight. His mother clapped her hands. I sat silently next to them, angry and resentful, feeling powerless to do anything about it.

What could I do? Lecture them on the evils of littering? Convince them to dispose of their trash in a garbage can? If so, what garbage can?

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