I’m standing on the beach, looking onto the Gulf of Mexico from the shelf above surf reach. Breakfast will come later. Today’s primary amazement is out there in the clear green water. Countless tiny fish in thick schooling swarms pock the overhead view like shadows of clouds. They are too many and wonderful. Glass minnows, someone told me they were. Each group, some as big as a whale, moves slowly westward, like a dark furry amoeba.
For more than an hour, I’ve watched them, unmolested. Now some Brown Pelicans have begun to dip their faces full of them. (But that’s not how they feed. White Pelicans dip; Brown Pelicans plunge. Am I seeing a new behavior?) Black Skimmers and Black Terns cruise the plenty.
Being here in the presence of all this is why one vacates. These clouds and this wind pull at me, tugging at a primal gear within me like the gravity of a flywheel. On this beach of empty decision I look out into the doorway of storms and imagine I smell morning glories. It’s the time of year for it, but not here. Sequences and cycles overlap one another’s realities when the right breeze rustles one’s shirt.
I need to be here more than my life can allow. The edge of storms… The edge of migrations and other soul movements… Sand that scrapes away the dead layers, exfoliating… Moisture on the wind, hydrating. It doesn’t matter whether the gild is tarnished or the tarnish is gilded — scrape it away! Stand still in a moment when everything else is moving, and re-become. Air, clouds, birds, water, sand, words. Be there, until standing beside you is one who knows and loves your kinetic stillness without needing you to advise her why.
Elijah knew something about this, I think. Foam needs to form and settle, sometimes. Clouds need to gather and rain.