Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Leaving the house at six o'clock, the sun still high in the sky, and ferocious.
Down on the beach the air is hot and salty, brazen with opportunity. A river otter is perched on the top of the large boulder that I use for fishing. He scrapes his pelt against the textured rock, contorting his tiny body into knots of pleasure. The sun seems to blind him to me, and I pass unnoticed, heading for the point.
The tide is high, and in the spots where I can't climb I'm forced to step down into the water in order to navigate around the sheer rock faces. A satisfying feeling of release as my sandaled foot sinks into the cold water, then rises again into the hot air. A tension that releases. There is the moment before the foot enters the water, when the brain says no, the foot must not get wet. Then the "giving way" as the foot enters, the brain forced to resign itself to the two extremes of temperature, to the possibility of full immersion even. A different, older part of my brain stirs.
Spider webs clog all the good handholds up higher on the cliffs, seagull shit smeared on the ledges. The ocean is not far below, but it is shallow here, with rocks waiting just under the surface. My sandals squeak with seawater as I grope my way around the farthest ledge and onto the next beach.
There is no one here, there is never anyone here. Just driftwood and rocks and birds, a few houses that look like they are only lived in three months out of the year. The ocean is louder on this side, the south facing beach less protected. At the end of the sand strip there is a rock outcropping that juts out into the ocean like a finger, and nestled behind it where the trail used to be, a brand new 2,000 sqft. house. It's newly retired owners have been giving people a rough time for using "their" beach, and I'm half hoping for an excuse to explain the laws regarding high tide and public access to them, but I pass unmolested. Maybe next time.
Up onto the road and home, with the sun saturating the woods to my left and right. A million different bird songs. At home it is eight o'clock. How can it be eight o'clock?