Symphony for Sea and Sky

Yesterday morning I woke up around five, jarred from the warm cocoon of sleep by Fuzzy’s digital-dental-drill alarm tone, and by the thought that bed seemed too hot, constricting, and uncomfortable, even though I wasn’t fully awake.

The morning had not even begun to blossom; sunrise was over an hour away, but in the false dawn light I crept across the deck from our cozy casita to the wicker sofa near the fire pit, draped on of the big cotton beach towel/throws around my shoulders, and let the wind seduce me.

The wind here is nothing like the wind in Texas. Partly because the gulf is about 100 feet from the back door, partly because of the latitude, the wind here is a wild sentient thing, and I could hear it’s voice even as I felt it whispering bold, naughty things across my skin.

I watched the sky lighten, heard the birds rouse themselves from feathered dreams, and suddenly even the deck was too confining. I wanted to be one of the wild creatures. I stood on the top of the cement wall that marks the edge of my parents’ property, and the wind ran invisible fingers through my hair, caressed my hot face with unseen hands. Around me it roared, with me it was gentle.

I slipped back into the casita, and drew a pair of ancient, fraying leggings on under my sleep shirt, twisted a bra on without taking anything off, and tossed a sweatshirt over it all. I stepped into my blue and purple teva sandals, and walked out the gate, and down the path (technically 5th street) to greet the churning, choppy sea.

Gulls flew overhead, and pelicans, so focussed on the broken waves that I could see their eyes dilating and refracting as they honed their focus on whatever fish was their prey at the moment. A stray duck bobbed on the surface of the water. I turned the camera skyward, to snap pictures of the waves and the pelicans, but the bird that strayed into my frame was no gull, no pelican, not even one of the frigate birds, but a gorgeous creature with a hunter’s profile and chocolate brown plumage. I tried to snap, but my digital’s shutter speed was no match for the swooping, diving bird that flew within inches of my hair, my fingers, me.

Back to the house, and the porch, I went, wanting to sit and watch. By now, false dawn had been replaced by the real thing, and the sky was evolving through yellow tones into warm pinks. My mother was up, brewing coffee, and she called me to join her, and I did, telling her of my morning adventure.

“You saw an osprey,” she said dismissing my excitement. But I’d met the osprey’s the night before on our twilight walk, when we’d had some nice mother-daughter time, and she’d introduced me to the blue heron who has a personal vendetta against Abigail (my parent’s neurotic, tiny, chihuahua).

I showed her the picture, and she said, “Wow…” and then, as one, we looked toward the see, and saw my hawk making a run for the sea, circling back, over the house, and diving into a glide so low across the pool that her feet could have skimmed the surface.

For an hour, we watched this bird, flying for no reason other than the primal pleasure of being caught between the sea and sky, borne aloft by strong wind, and held there by nature’s magic.

Hours later, after dusk, I would see the hawk one more time, in silhouette against the full moon.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Symphony for Sea and Sky by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.