Sunday, April 6, 2014


Sun plastered me to the rock like one of those gel window decorations.

You know what I mean, right? My coworkers decorate their office windows with colorful gel seasonal words and symbols. I don't. Who has the time? Do decorations really add to the quality of education? Enhance student learning and satisfaction? Am I supposed to redecorate my windows monthly? And my door weekly (inspirational sayings, puns, or family photos)?

I like to poke the gel.

It's like thin jello.

Anyway. I went to the beach.

Drove right in, noticed a park ranger fiddling with the chain at the gate so I waved. I have my season pass already, so didn't stop at the honor-system money-can at the empty toll-house. Drove right on. The road was smooth.

The parking lot was empty and that was odd. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and the road outside the park was lined with cars. The ranger pulled in behind me, driving a golf cart or 4-wheeler. "You're the first one in," he told me. "We just opened up, after mud season. It was a long mud season."

"I have a season pass," I confessed, nervously, in case he'd stopped to check the money can. "I got it already, at Popham," I babbled on.

"You must really like the state parks," he replied.

"Oh I do. I love parks. Even when I travel, I go to the state parks." What was wrong with me? Why was I going on so, and to a total stranger? I'm usually a nod or one word to strangers. We awkwardly disentangled our conversation and I set off down the path to the bay, excited that I might have the small beach to myself.

Oh. No such luck. Remember all those cars? People hiked in, with kids and lunches. Like I said, it's a small beach. A strip of sand and shells, then a line of seaweed and tricky rock, and then a steep cliff to tall trees. There were lots of people there. People watching, discussing, and photographing the ospreys. Kids called  and cawed liked seagulls. Kids fell in tidepools. Mothers told kids, "Be careful! Watch your ankles! Don't get wet!" Was I ever that ridiculous and controlling? I hope I told them to go play, get wet, get muddy and sandy. I can't remember.

A middle-aged couple in hiking boots were wolfing down foot-long sub sandwiches. Huge bites and chews. A hipster couple was oogling the osprey nest. There's an osprey nest on an offshore island. No trespassing allowed. Just ospreys. Young couples with kids. People with cameras. I felt inspected and trapped. I turned right to walk along the beach.

I walked on muddy sand, shells, and seaweed. I walked past two women, planted on a boulder, eating lunch, and talking about working out at the local gym. "Treadmill..." I heard. "SO many INTERESTING people." Why were they shouting?

A young couple was huddled in a cove. I kept walking. I jumped from rock to rock, avoiding the snails. I carefully tiptoed across seaweed. I walked in mud and sand.

I found a stretch barren of people. I could still hear the hoots of the hikers in the woods above me. But I couldn't see anyone. The rock was black and glittering in the sun. The slabs thrust upwards. The seaweed was bright yellow and the shells were blue, white, and pink. I stopped and leaned against a slab, feet braced against small boulders. I felt the sun on my face, and slipped out of my winter jacket.

It was sunny, windy, and 45 degrees. Almost summer to a Mainer.

Sun plastered me to the rock. I felt sun and wind on my face. I could hear the wind and the waves. Snails dropped from the slanted rock and skittered down to the sand. I tried to nap.

I thought about sun, Reiki, light, and heat.

A family walked by, speaking melodic French. They found a boulder beyond, and sat in the sun, lulling me with language.

I couldn't sleep so I watched the ospreys, in the distance now. I watched seagulls swirl above, like an electron storm. I saw a bird with black wings soar and startle the seagulls and ospreys. I saw circles of light flash and float among the gleaming birds. 

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