Redwood Stringer #4: Texture

Redwood Stringer #4: Texture

Redwood Stringer #4: Texture
by Tom Mahony

A glimpse of the ocean texture can reveal a lot about the day ahead. When I’m driving to work or running errands and get a peek at the ocean—not the waves or beach, just water on the distant horizon—that view is critical to my mindset.

The view might reveal a calm surface like blue glass. Or the water churned and broiled with whitecaps. Or a light texture from the west, the ocean still glassy but chop coming soon. Or a breeze from the north that will render some spots bumpy and others groomed with offshore wind.

Sometimes the texture will influence my immediate plans. Sheet glass might mean nonessential work will be postponed or weaseled out of. Whitecaps might mean the difficult job I’ve been delaying will get done.

Usually, though, my plans can’t change but my attitude will. When I’m driving to work and see whitecaps in the distance, it’s very sweet. I’m not missing any good surf and as such I will have a good day. I will be focused, Zen-like, at peace with myself and the world. My irritating colleagues will seem funnier and more bearable. Pressing problems will be solved. The cheap, gut-sizzling office coffee will seem less rancid than usual. I’ll resist the urge to destroy the perpetually malfunctioning printer. I’ll let go, for the day, my dislike of those tortuous office birthday parties and the excruciating rendition of “happy birthday.”

But driving to work after seeing that sheet blue glass … It’s going to be a bad day. Very bad indeed.

Like my shrill neighbor in the adjacent cubicle is screaming “happy birthday” on an endless loop.

Tom Mahony is a biological consultant in central California with an M.S. degree from Humboldt State University. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Surfer Magazine and dozens of other online and print publications. His short fiction collection, Slow Entropy, has recently been published as an ebook by Thumbscrews Press: He is looking for a publisher for several novels. Tom is also the author of the twitter story, Dead Glass, which was featured on SurfPulse’s twitter feed. Visit him at

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