The Perfect Day for Sorrow

Maritime Morning

      It was the perfect day for sorrow. Grey veils drifted across the sky. The ocean was almost calm—what you could see of it in the mist. Only the tiny waves rippling toward the shore disturbed its dark surface; only a gentle rise and fall bore evidence of the giant sleeping below.

    A small row-boat bobbed up and down ever so slightly with each swell, its docking rope barely pulling at the mooring. The big fishing boats were still at rest, shrouded in the mist, waiting for the fishermen to fire up their engines and point them seaward. The sailors were still at home, lingering over their morning coffee, waiting for the fog to lift.

    The village was silent except for one old horse that plodded along, still half asleep. Some farmer riding out to check his fields; saving gas and trusting his horse rather than his battered old truck. No danger of him losing his way in the gray mist; habit had mapped the route indelibly in the old horse’s brain.

    Down at the wharf a young man sat all alone on the lower dock, legs dangling over, toes not quite touching the water. He gazed into the mist, recording the muffled cries of invisible gulls and sandpipers as they scavenged along the shore and the far off droning of some foghorn. He studied the small seabirds as they paddled on the water’s surface, appearing and disappearing  amidst patches of fog.  He strained his eyes to define the that elusive line where water met sky.

    From his small space in the universe, he contemplated the power of the sea. That great expanse that fed them, that bobbed them up and down from one shore to another, that challenged and tested their mettle. One day it held them so gently on the palm of its mighty hand; the next day dashed and crashed them from towering peaks into deep green troughs. Troughs that could swallow a fleet of ships at a gulp, the old-timers said. He’d seen the tails of those big waves lashing these docks and he right well believed it!

    The subject of his contemplations was right now as docile as a lamb. It was as gray as the sky overhead, as gray as the fog that wafted along the shore. The only variation he could see as he looked around was a thick dark line away beyond the clearing behind him; the woods were too big to hide completely in the fog.

    Somewhere on the eastern horizon a red sun would be peeping over the ocean; his watch told him so, though not one beam penetrated the grey cotton batting that wrapped the small town. Yes, this was a perfect day for mourning a lost love.

    He looked around at every familiar thing, taking mental pictures, wanting to have these scenes filed away for the lonely days ahead. He wanted to drink in as much of this as he could before the ferry left at ten.

    The sea. Would he ever see it again?

Since I’m feeling a bit fuzzy and dizzy this morning myself after my surgery two days ago, I thought this would be a good post for today. This was a writing exercise I did two years ago: we were to describe a morning scene.

Any guesses as to where this young man was going and why?


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