November 07, 2007

Beneath the pier

Last Saturday, on a dark and rainy afternoon, I escaped from the conference I was attending to walk with Artist Friend to the waterfront of City By the Sea. Some kind of storm was hitting the coast, with high winds and a drenching rain. But we both like walking in the rain, and we had an hour to spare before the evening plenary session. Big puddles were already forming in the narrow, brick-lined streets, and the bright yellow leaves on the sidewalks seemed to glow as we made our way to the waterfront. The little shops were filled with corny tourist gifts, cool model sailboats, and warm light that spilled out the windows and doors.

Sailboats and motorboats were covered and tied to the docks, the masts rocking in the wind. The tide was low, so as we walked down along the floating dock, we could look right under the pier. The big pilings looked spooky in the dimness of late afternoon, and water came rushing down through the planks, dripping, trickling, splashing, like a waterfall run through a sieve. Even though my sneakers were soaked, we walked several blocks down to see a big cruise ship, a most gigantic ship, that was trapped in the harbor by the storm. We could see the lit rooms of the ship, with passengers moving about, probably talking excitedly about the events of the day. We walked back through gale force winds, too cold even to talk, before retreating to the warm art museum where food and colleagues awaited us.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, having slept soundly even though I was in a strange hotel, I looked at the clock on my bedside table and wondered why it didn't match the time on my cell phone. That's when I realized that thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I had a whole bonus hour! I knew immediately how I wanted to spend that hour.

The storm from the night before had disappeared, and the docks were striped with shadows and sunshine. I could hear seagulls calling, and the air smelled of salt and fish. In the morning brightness, I walked up and down the docks, stopping to examine the boats and deciding which one I'd choose for myself, settling at last on a sailboat with a bright red hull. It was bigger than the sailboats I'm used to, but I just loved the lines and the brilliant color. I found a spot where I could sit quietly in the morning sun, breathing in the blue sky and seaweed smell, a few moments to myself before returning to the conference.

Beneath the pier

That's me in the brown coat. Photo taken by Artist Friend.


Patti said...

What a beautiful picture, and what a babe you are! I've never been to that Far Northern State By The Sea in autumn. We used to go in winter (until I smartened up) and in summer.

Yankee T said...

Lovely pictures, both verbal and photographic.

Silver Creek Mom said...

Nice. I woke up in Montreal and promty went back to sleep. If I was at home THAT would not have happened. Then I got up strectched and had a Shower to beat all showers and then a lesurily breakfast and 2 cups of 2 tea.

Sounds like we both got what we needed adn wanted.

Nice Photo.

Rana said...

Now THAT is a good use of the extra hour. (I just slept in. At least, until the cat meowed for food.)

So, was AF stalking you, or what?

jo(e) said...


No, he took the photo later in the day. A bunch of us went out to lunch and we had half an hour to kill before going to the airport so we walked down to the pier and I showed him the sailboat that I was now calling mine.

Artist Friend said...

Wait a minute--I thought you said it was your sailboat. Are you saying that red boat isn't yours?

Cloudscome said...

That is exactly what I would want to do with an extra hour, if I was by the sea. Instead, since was home with the little guys, I cranked up the bread machine (Gluten free, of course). I am really enjoying reading about your conference. Some day I am going to be an academic blogger and go to cool conferences.

frog said...