Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunrise in Winter

The dark-skinned lady in her fur-trimmed coat sits on the tartan blanket a few feet from me, her eyes turned towards the sea. And my butt is numb from the cold sand dune I chose as my seat. Sea oats stab at the backs of my legs. How long should I stay? Then the sky puts on a spectacle—the darkness of evening giving itself over to the color of dawn. A gift. A new day. An awakening. I watch until my eyes burn. Stay as long as I like. And the lady walks towards the sea, turns her shoulders north and then south. And I long to know her story. A lone jogger plods his way across the beach, barefoot in the winter sand. And my children are warm in their beds at the house while my fingers are numb from typing in the chill of morning. A heavy-set woman in jean shorts and crocs removes her shoes and wades in the sea up to her ankles and then walks away—that is all. And the dark-skinned lady turns towards me and her ears sparkle with jewels and her neck is wrapped in gold. And I long to know her story. The jogger returns and chats with her and I watch from my writer’s perch on the freezing sand and stretch my ears for their words. The wind carries their conversation and drops it in my lap—the cadence is dull, small talk, tinny laughter and I feel the pit of disappointment, a sticky ball in my stomach. And I will walk all the way to the rock jetty on the south end of the island to discover something. But then, when I find the jetty, it has nearly disappeared, covered by sand, shards of stone sticking out. The beach has changed since I last was here. A photographer sets and snaps photos of seabirds with the ocean as his backdrop and I envy his simple way of capturing the human existence—point and click. And I walk back, not sure if I’m full or empty again.

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