Saturday, October 24, 2015

DI - wrapup

So I wasn't perfect about posting every day.  Who cares it's vakay right?

This week the girl got a little brush up on Newton's third law of motion and discovered that the force applied to an immovable object is translated back into the object striking it - re: granite coffee table and baby toe.  Results of experiment: broken baby toe and quite possibly the most extensive bruising I have ever done on a foot.

The toe kinda curtailed the beach walks since the sand was enough to make the girl fall over - repeatedly.  I did manage some additional time at the Audubon sanctuary, but saw no additional birds beyond those that were there the last time.  Still, it is a peaceful place with a good bench for sitting and thinking.

I spent quite a while watching a great blue heron so well camouflaged in the reeds, that I can't see him in the photos.  I figured whatever he was hunting was toast.  Then I wondered - What was he hunting?  Small fish was my guess.  Spawning circular thoughts about the hunter, watching the hunted.

I watch the heron
the heron watches the fish
the fish watch the dragonflies
the dragonflies watch the mosquitos
for which I am grateful as hell.

Look for yourself in the photo below - heron-go-seek

Thursday, October 22, 2015

DI Thursday

Clearest of blue skies.  Windy.  Kitesurfing on the sound side.  Regular surfing on the Gulf.  I used to think of the Gulf as a tame beast, until I came here.  It is no beast that can be collared.

Yup.  Took yesterday off to do some "real" writing.  Those are the words I use in my head.  How they belittle every effort that they deem unworthy - which is pretty much everything I write.  I call Bullshit on that.

I had gotten behind on my Inked Voices submissions and critiques.  I got caught up on the critiques and typed up my next two submissions and well.....submitted them.  Feeling decidedly less angsty now that is accomplished.

Mostly I spent the day with my foot in the air after trying to punt a granite topped coffee table and failing.  Baby toe - 0 : Coffee table - 1.  Result broken toe.  Today the color is spectacular, baby toe is deep purple and most of the right side of the foot is a reddish mauve.  Glad because there is little to no pain even when I walk on it.  WHEW!

At about 3PM, I realized I hadn't gotten dressed and pretty much just said Fuck it and stayed in my jammies all day.  I also recognized I hadn't brushed my teeth (Gross) which I quickly and vigorously amended.  I threw open all the doors and let the Gulf breeze blow through.  I spent the night wrangling flies, but it was so worth it.  I have been sleeping with the windows open despite the coolness, despite the dampness just so I can go to sleep with my ears full of ocean song.

I miss that back in KY.  I love my state with its wild child beauty, but there's some alchemical reaction to being near the sea.  I feel more me somehow.  I give less of a fuck about things outside me.  My ears, that are silence seeking, here rejoice in the tossing of waves, the mutter of gulls, the ridiculous flight of monarchs.

I have today and tomorrow before I head back.  Think I will go dip my bruised up spirit and my bruised up toes in the Gulf.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DI - Tuesday

Everything is steel grey green.  The sun lies blanketed behind the clouds.  Does it not know I am on vacation?

I don't really feel like writing this morning.  I had trouble sleeping last night, and when I finally did my dreams were terrible.  I kept having to call in Olivia Benson.  Dreams involving her suck.  I finally woke at 1 to pee (bc old) and couldn't go back to sleep.  My back hurt.  Instead I started "writing" my V-Day piece in my head.  That opened drawers better left closed at night when one is trying to catch some zzz's.  I closed my eyes, but my brain just raced on and off topic like an errant thoroughbred.  I just couldn't reign it in, no matter how hard I tried.

I finally moved from the murphy bed with its aqua blue beach glass movable walls (my favorite feature of the house) into the master bedroom.  I don't like this room, and rarely sleep there.  It is dark and spartan in its design.  This room is the opposite of the glass enclosed one.  It is all masculinity and right angles.  It is direct and graceless.  This bed has a Tempurpedic mattress which I love, but it's coated with some kind of plastic that makes me hot and not in a good way.  I like the room to be cool, to have an excuse to dive under the duvet and float it around me like a cloud.  So I opened the window, read a little and let the rollicking wind whisper stories to me all night.

I did finally go back to sleep.  No more rape dreams.  And woke to a day as gray as any I have had out here on the Island.  As if somehow my dreams influenced the atmosphere and said "You must use the Payne's Grey with everything dahling."  My eyes keep checking the windows waiting for the deep aqua, the cerulean, the butter yellow to return.  But they haven't.....yet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dauphin Island - Monday

Yesterday I stepped on a shell or piece of glass in the sand, sliced open the underside of one toe.  So just admiring the beach from afar today while it heals up a bit.  Four foot rollers out on the Gulf, the same steady whitecaps on the Sound.  Those are most adequate companions for a Monday.

Night comes quickly after sunset here.  I walk the short distance back to my house even as the colors fade to indigo.  I make my rounds and gently close all the curtains on another day.  There is a certain peace that blooms inside when I do this.  I don't have to close them, there are almost no other people around.  But there are the nesting turtles or hatchlings that might grow disoriented by the house lights to consider, even though I am sure it is not time for either of those.

Then there is the dark to consider.  When I step out on the deck at night, the stars are vivid and bright.  Orion positively blazes above my head.  I spin in delight trying to take all of it in.  A light stabs into my eyes from the house next door - unrented.  Why does the exterior light need to be on if no one is coming home?  It contaminates my perfect dark.  I don't want to contaminate anyone's dark, so closed blinds are a must.

In the morning there is the opposing ritual of opening the curtains, of inviting in the light.  Where the evening ritual brings peace, this one is an energized joy as I take a moment to take in the view from each door and window, visiting with them like old friends.

A memory surfaced this morning as I brushed aside yet another curtain and stared out into the Gulf, of my grandparents doing this exact ritual at their lake house.  Closing the curtains at the end of the day and opening them up again in the morning.  My brothers, who stayed in the room above the boathouse, were not allowed up to the cottage if the drapes were closed.  I am sure they did this even when the boys were not there.  My grandmother continued to do it when they moved to Cali.

Such a sweet memory that I had misplaced jostled free by unforgiving wind and four foot rollers in the Gulf.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dauphin Island - Sunday

It is the windiest out here exposed on the west end.  Having coffee and watching kite surfers in the sound.  My science brain trying hard to puzzle out the physics of how the kite can drag you up and down the sound as it plows straight in off the water at right angles.  Science brain is failing.  Yes, it could use the googles, but the rest of me is content to let it remain a mystery as they let the kite draw them twenty or thirty feet into the air.  It must feel like flying.  How long have we humans been dreaming of that?

Yesterday I did my sweep for letterboxes.  I found three.  One I could not find discreetly.  One I got caught up in some impromptu birding.  The latter I will try again.

I went to Ft. Gaines.  This place creeps me out.  Last time I went I was the only visitor and the whispers and voices were do damn loud.  This time there were many families with children that blotted out what the stones knew.  Or maybe the ribald wind drew them all off shore.  History is good to experience en place, but military establishments are plagued with voices.  Each with its poignant story to tell.  To linger there is to bog down in sadness.

There is an Audubon Sanctuary on island.  This, by contrast, is one of my favorite places.  A short trip into the woods and I was mosquito buffet.  Luckily I have some Skeeter Skeedaddle in the car (recommended to us in Maine).  It smells great and works.  Every visit I get to meet some new avian passerbys.  Yesterday there were the usual things one expects in the low country - egrets and herons - but there were also bald eagles, osprey, kestrels, woodpeckers.  I know this because there are a number of birders on the island right now.

It was nice to have some people to chat with.  I miss that when I travel alone.  They were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the birds.  I enjoyed listening to them point and identify the five great blue herons roosted in the tree in front of me.  I probably would have missed those without that.  They asked me questions and I felt included.  But when I tried to ask about what kind of bird I saw winging by, they closed ranks in drill team precision and cut me out.  Because I am socially obtuse, I asked again, they talked louder among themselves.  I got the point.  I returned to silently watching my surroundings while the hens clucked and chattered around me on the observation deck.

Things took a decided turn south (pun intended) when one of them spoke disparagingly about evolution.  I forget that people still think of this as Darwin's joke.  Many clucks and nods of agreement.  Uh-oh.  I could feel the arguments forming in my gut.  I clamped down on them tightly.  I am a stranger in a strange land called Alabama.  Oh wait no.  That's part of my country.  Still arguing would fall on deaf ears and would spoil my day.  So, I sat quietly breathing in ocean air and shutting out their words.

Conversation came back around to the common ground of birds and I let their voices in once more.  I love learning new stuff about nature.  I sat quietly and listened like I was in school.  Someone pointed out a sundog and that's when they really annoyed me.  Suddenly school became church and it was "praise Jesus this" and "god almighty that."  I shut them out again until one of the ladies turned to me and pointedly asked, "Don't you agree?  How can you look at all this and not believe in god and the saving grace of his son?"

To which I replied, "I believe in the First Amendment," and just for fun I tossed in "Ah salaam alaikum," and excused myself.  One older woman, who was not part of the group, chuckled.

I could hear the rest behind me gasping, chattering, trying to put their hen brains together and come up with any smattering of history that might help them decipher what I had said.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Posts from Dauphin Island Saturday

Today, if I were home, I would still be abed.  Hiding from life under the covers and telling myself it was self-care.  Here, on the island, I am up with the sun.  Coffee is made.  Oatmeal consumed.  Now it's time for some writing and then off on an adventure.

The wind is wicked this morning.  Pelican fishing so close in on the Gulf side.  Angry white caps on both the Gulf and the Sound.  I watch the pelicans for a while, but it's some low flying raptor that catches my attention.  It is struggling mightily against the wind and I wonder what kind of prey is worth that?

The island is so different that it is in Spring when I usually come.  No palmetto bugs for one (thank you baby jeesus).  The crowd is thinned and more prone to snowbirds than families.  The air is different too, less wet, howling, just the way I like it.  The angle of the sun is less abrasive, more like a lover's caress.  The slanting fall light is beautiful everywhere, but here it is like bathing in liquid rose gold.

I sighed, actually sighed, OUT LOUD when the giant ball of the sun slipped below the horizon last night.  I did not join the sacrament of the setting sun in the West End Beach Park the way I will later in the week.  Instead I hugged it close to my heart.  Breathed in the mercurochrome redness of it.  I am home.

Posts from Dauphin Island - Friday

I am on vacation this week.  My first real time away from home in two years.  I am snugged up tight in my little green beach escape out on Dauphin Island, AL.  I have never been down in October and have no idea what to expect.  This week I will be posting a daily fast write (WiFi permitting) before I go out and stick my toes in the gulf.

I am tired.  Not that physical tired, but a deep emotional out-of-gas tired.  The kind, if I tried to push through, might have bad results.  This past year taking care of the mama has been amazing, but taxing.   I recognized this coming and booked my favorite beach house on my favorite beach in all of the US.

The drive down was mostly uneventful except for the exploding toilet in the welcome center rest area in Alabama.  I was sure this was some kind of punishment for the the War of Northern Aggression.  Oh, but wait, I live in a state below the Mason-Dixon too.  Stupid toilet.  This little incident might have ruined the day, had it not been for a tiny fashionista who commented on my new shoes which happen to be Skechers.  Fashion conversation with a seven year old ensued.  I told her not to use the exploding toilet, to which she answered "Ewwwwww" like only a small girl child can.  That perfectly voiced my own feeling.  We agreed we rocked the Skechers like a boss and proceeded to runway stomp out of the bathroom.

Part of the reason I love traveling by myself is stuff like this, small connections that are made and dissolved in a blink of an eye.  Those happen less when I travel with someone.  Perhaps I am more focused on them or the destination or something.  Maybe it's as simple as relaxation kicking in and feeling like there is time.  Time to be kind.  To talk to strangers.  To capare shoes.  To giggle.  To be someone else.  To be more me.  All of the above.

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