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.
On at least one star-filled morning each month, I can be found elbow-supported, wooden-railing leaning at the end of the Lighthouse Pier where I gaze toward the sand-duned line along the southernmost end of Salt Run. There, by the light of a sun that has yet to crest those sandy ridges, night’s quiet transformation into day occurs so swiftly that my brain can but register its changes as stop motion animation: changes in the sky where yellow intrudes upon dark charcoals, diluting them into steely blues; changes that brighten and polish smooth patches of water so that channel markers and mooring floats might reflect upon their states; and changes that shear night’s veil guarding a secured ketch till the boat’s emerging beauty seduces me once again.
The sun rises to the south in St. Augustine during the winter. On cloudless mornings then, once the sun clears the trees that line the shore on Anastasia Island, it brightens and burnishes the south side of the Bridge of Lions in a manner that brings to my mind the bridge over River Itchen by the gates of the Royal Court of Arthur.
Topping the protective dune, we froze, speechless in wonder to see the birth of the day laid out before us.
When you write, write.
When you make love, make love.
When you fish, fish.
Sunrise stroll ending
Fresh brewed coffee waiting –
I will never know the breadth of God,
Nor the height, nor the depth.
Yet, I pause in awe of dawn’s majesty
Some early morning walks by the sea.
I hurried to his side as soon as I saw him standing by the water’s edge. He looked to be in serious trouble. He was bent over, face down, palms on knees. He breathed heavily, noisily as he inhaled, his mouth O-shaped, lips extended. His body moved with his breathing.
He must have sensed my presence because eventually he spoke, but head still facing the sand and only when exhaling, his words whisper-riding each puff of air. I had to move closer and bend further down to hear them.
– Big wave!
– Got tossed!
– Board tore loose!
– Rip current!
– Back in!
– Got board!
Without looking up, he pointed to a surfboard that lay in the sand some paces away.
I asked him then what I could do to help him, but he shook his head. Eventually, his breathing slowed. He pushed himself up off his knees. He adjusted his suit. He looked at me and smiled briefly. Then he walked slowly to his surfboard, picked it up, and tucked it under his left arm. He walked back into the surf.
He pauses each morning to watch the sun rise
And let loose his thoughts to take hold where they might.
He senses some great thing beyond his reach
Whose name he can never quite bring to the light.
Beckons the day,
“Wake up, my pretties!
Time to set sail!
Now, cast off! Away!”
Tugs at their sterns.
“Come, sleepy boats,
This way to the sea!”