The Red Gate at the End of Marine Street

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My walk this morning has led me to Marine Street, which I take north till it ends at Bridge Street. At that intersection, I pause to decide whether to turn east toward the harbor or west toward the Lincolnville district, each direction a pleasant walk with its own distinct merits. As always, while waiting for some sign to make my choice, I am drawn to the concrete wall that faces me and encloses the grounds at Number 15 on the north side of Bridge Street. It is a high wall, six feet or so; ornate and old – blackened-with-moss old; wood-rotting, red-paint-peeling-door old. Flora, no longer tended, tests its boundaries. This side of the door, flowers have escaped the confines of their pots and have breached the straight edges of the red and white bricked entry way. From the other side, a few pink hibiscus flowers on a couple of rogue flag-pole straight branches make their debut, and a lone vine slithers over the wall’s top.

 Something influences me to turn left toward the water today and I do. Ahead, I can see oranges and yellows mixing in the eastern sky with the sun just now beginning its rise over Anastasia Island across the bay. The winds are light, so if I am lucky when I reach the sea wall, the sailboats and their masts will be reflected in the still harbor waters, always a delightful sight at the end to a good morning walk.

 Still, I wonder – as I wonder each time after turning this way or the other upon reaching Bridge Street – what would have happened had I first crossed to the other side of the road and tried the latch on that old red gate door; and what would have happened had the latch clicked and I pushed on the door and it actually opened; and what would I have seen on the other side of that gate then?


Saint Augustine Harbor – March 7, 2016, 7:00 a.m.

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Here is the Seven A.M. Harbor Report: There is currently an almost slack, incoming tide with light winds out of the northwest and some cloud cover that will clear later this morning. The water and air temperatures are both at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Aside from water slapping against hulls and the unpeopled docks and the occasional splash of a fish, the marina is quiet. The sun has cleared the horizon, freshening the starboard sides of the moored sailboats at the harbor’s southern end. Two pelicans land in untroubled waters near the lead schooner there, and one is filled with a sense of peaceful confidence that all is as it should be.

Sailboat and Lighthouse, February 3, 2016, 7:14 a.m., Saint Augustine Harbor

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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.