Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Towards the empty horizon (8/2/80)

            The fumes from the fuel invade my nostrils as we push off, pressing through the sand bars and reeds, water splashing up around the stern, a gushing V that catches the glint of sunlight.
            I’m nervous, senses growing confused with the motion, my queasy stomach like a fragile egg ready to crack.
            Egrets stand like white sentinels among the tan islands among the stiff spouts of fresh spartina.
            The boat bucks at each turn, the swish of water sounding against its side, a small white fiber glass steed bouncing against the rising tide.
            The wind whips at us from our motion, filled with the scent of sea salt, motor oil and brine.
            We pass under low bridges, arches whose legs take on the greenish tint of algae near the water, and pock-marked with the array of barnacles and rust, competing with the blue paint.
            The depth meter informs us the hull skates over two feet of water, though we squint not at the meter, but at the egg cup ahead of us, where man stirs up an atomic broth, a gruesome concrete beast leaning over the water and outlined by the milk-blue sky. Not until the meter beeps telling us we race at inches instead of feet do we turn our attention there, the more realistic danger of becoming a victim common ground rather than atoms.
            We slow, with the vague hope slower will keep us from sinking into the mud, inching our way ahead until the meter’s numbers increase: one foot, two feet, and then more than we need to drown, the mysterious invisible channels yawning beneath us, allowing us to pick up speed. Higher bridges stretching their broad arms over our heads, until the sea beyond greets us and more powerful waves beat at us, sending their terrible spray over the windshield and our heads as we steer out away from land and towards the empty horizon,.


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