I hadn’t planned on waking with a jolt, but it happens sometimes. I open my eyes to a bright flash, like lightning, but there is no storm here. Sunrise soon, so I slip into slouchy clothes, add another jacket because the winds are northeast, and you know what that means. The dog walkers were out trying to be quiet, but their fluffies have one job and they are going to do that job every morning: yip at anything that moves, and that’s okay. By now most of them know I’m not bite-worthy, so they let me scritch their wiry necks and set them on their way.
I stand in the sand with camera phone in hand waiting for the molten orb to rise from the Atlantic, noting the ceiling covered by rows of narrow clouds, adjoined, pink, soon to be yellow then white when the whole thing is done. I watch the fluffies trot across wind-blown dunes. I see early crab tracks and wonder if they’re sorry they got up too soon. In the west, a pillar of rainbow over the Hampton bridge.
The laughing gulls were quiet for most of the year, but now that the “skimmer” gulls have arrived, the laughing gulls call constantly. Laughing gulls are more likely to share the breakwaters with the fuller-bodied gulls or tiny plovers who are no threat to anyone. The skimmers fly by in the mornings but do most of their work of feeding in the evenings, skimming the tideline open-mouthed and faster than a white feathered bullet. Their morning calls are demure compared to the coarse laughing gulls, their bodies are the epitome of sleek, narrow, curved, pale, and far more seasonal. They are white silk arrows flown from heaven, and that seems to piss off the laughing gulls.
There is a tiny bird perched on the dead tree limb outside my window, breast curved and deep. He silently pivots like an unsure weather vane. What is he looking for?
My neighbor says goodbye to her cat on the windowsill every morning; she doesn’t know I see this, and she greets him when she returns before she opens the door. I met her across the balcony this morning. I said hello, and she “confessed” her ritual. I think she felt like she was caught like a deer in the headlights. We haven’t spoken but a few words. I told her, “You should see him when you’re not home. All the parties. Had to call the cops a few times.” one-two-three…. She had no idea what I was talking about, but eventually she smiled and said, “You’re funny, ” and I wished her a great day as she smiled and made her way down the stairs.
Mad Libs was a fun game, and sometimes Jimmy Fallon, the late show host, fills out a Mad Libs form and acts out a scene based on the guests’ words. I’ve watched Jimmy coax a great many words from his guests, and most of them disappoint me. They’re like me, trying to remember what’s a noun, verb, adjective. Most guest replies are often bland like a primary color wheel, and it informs me more deeply than a silly interview. This morning I am pleased with Kevin Spacey who, unsurprisingly, immediately, chose wonderful and interesting words. This matters to me, not so much because I want to win a date with Kevin Spacey, but more because it reaffirms my need for more, my need to be in the company of people who are curious about the world, who know things that I do not. Those who touch the mermaid of me.