Though retreating mist still clings to the eastern dunes,
And sailboats yet tug against moorings in the outgoing tide,
The rising sun is below the horizon by but two degrees,
And soon will end dawn’s dreamy promise of escape.
The Jubilee approached St. Augustine Inlet
In the calm-watered, first light of the morning.
Unknown to her captain, three leagues east
An exceedingly strong storm was forming.
There is a brief moment, just as the sun rises above the houses across Marine Street and mixes with the last of night’s shadows, that the grave markers in the St. Augustine National Cemetery display their age before donning their regulation white.
From where I stand on the south side of the Bridge of Lions, I see five boats moored in a row along the sea wall approaching the Castillo’s ramparts, like so many English ships of the line in battle formation.
Is mirrored in pastel waters,
While unhurried musings drift
Toward the creek’s final bend.
I am a break-of-day photographer who lives at the edge of land in St. Augustine, Florida. Since moving here, I have become drawn to moored sailboats in our small harbors that open into the vastness of the Atlantic. My attraction is related to a notion I have of man’s boundless curiosity that has historically driven him to undertake dangerous, far-ranging seagoing adventures.
The best time to capture this mood with my camera, I have learned, is during the brief period before and after the sun rises on days of partly clear skies and gentle winds. The sun’s light is not blindingly bright then, and its position is low, horizontal to objects on the water and beneath the clouds, resulting in deepened colors, highlighted shadows, long reflections in still waters, and, when I am lucky, an arresting photo.
If I had to choose, I would take the ketch, which is moored farther away from me toward the bay’s eastern shore, for I am partial to the lines of older boats and especially so to two-masted ones. But – honestly? – any one of them would suit my purpose at this particular moment.