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Something about the placement of the sun and moon and perhaps Mercury in retrograde had something to do with why I ran out of the house and down to the shore. I couldn’t put two thoughts together. I couldn’t decide whether to sit or stand or eat or drink or write or wash a dish or leave or stay. Just before the tipping point I put on sunglasses, left my phone on the table, and got the hell out of there. I really don’t know what it was that moved me to go in that second, was it the universe pushing me, it must have been because the dolphins were present in the bay.

I stumbled out through the dune path and bee-lined for “my” spot but a summer sunbather was there. I veered east (still not far enough away from her music playing) and dropped into the warm sand like Simba on the grassy hillside the night he needed to sort things out.

The dolphin pod was not passing through our little spit of the Chesapeake this time. They were hunting playing for croaker and mullet. Normally when I see dolphin their backs and dorsals seem black, probably because of distance, a trick of the light, presbyopia, or all of the above. Today, though, they were clearly sparkling gray and white. No sweet faces seen, just bodies and flukes. Some were in groups of three, one larger-bodied and two smaller-bodied beings huddled close and loping gently along. As for the hunting playing party, it was a foamy free-for-all.

In the space of a few moments four colorful jet-skis passed right through the dolphin patch, a small Coast Guard boat came flying out of the channel, and in the not too far distance a submarine was under way, all while the sunbather had her back turned from the water and her buddies were splashing around. I felt as though I was looking at a painting where someone said, “paint everything you will ever see ocean side.” It felt crammed and unpleasant, no rhythm or ease. I forced myself to wait out the desire to leave, so I watched the boats and dolphins and jet-skis disappear. I listened to the waves curl and release and it became easier to breathe. Whatever I wished for, hoped, or wanted became irrelevant as I let the simple hissing water mesmerise.

Hands in hot water washing a dish, I mused that dolphins don’t have to decide to write or sleep or interact. I cannot live unhemispherically because I would miss my dreams where mermaids tell me you exist. I like purple ink on my fingers after I write, and reading dog-eared pages filled with moody, conquering kings.