On a foggy day, throttled back I follow the line of the shore as long as I can. At times I see the darker line of jagged spruce above the ledge. at times it slips away. Each cliff and cove, the geometry of driftwood tangle and blowdown, familiar, comforting as fingertips along the edge of a passage in the dark

But comes a point, beyond the end of the ledge, when I leave the island behind, there the wash of the tide rises beneath me, the wind suddenly chill and harsh off the open sea. The clang of the bell buoy as confused as the cross chop. The compass needle sways. I will it to steady and follow, blind, the line it casts ahead. Standing on tiptoes, straining to see, should be, surely must be time by now, wondering where I’ll find myself when I finally glimpse shore darkening the fog.

Sometimes, even before I could see it, I felt the cliffs, felt the rough line of stubborn, brooding spruce above felt the land reach for me.

There are times I glimpse before I see, sensing something almost here. The shiver in the rails before the eye or ear beholds. Not the sense of presence in a darkened room, not menace or deep foreboding, more like the very act of space preparing to become the subtle rearrangement of particle and wave.

Most often, by the time I thought, the moment was gone. But once, once I stilled myself, sat exposed on the crag before the sea, open and quite alone in the fading light. What filled me then I cannot name though I carry some of it still.

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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