At 6:30, more or less, each morning, the eastern horizon becomes a strata of pink and orange as the sun glows, then rises over the peninsula that defines the eastern boundary of Muscongus Bay. Within an hour, Ol’ Sol has risen midway from the horizon, turned the thin cloud stratus a translucent oyster white, and burned a widening path like a celestial version of the earth-bound lobster boats that leave their wakes across the bay.
It’s easy to see why observers of old would have seen a golden god-piloted boat making its way across their day.
There is sound of a perpetual windstorm, though there is little breeze where I sit on the deck watching the waves wash over the remains of volcanos even older than the 300-million-year-old rubble of collided continents.
Occasionally an extra large wave approaches, then rears up before slamming its might into a school bus-sized boulder with the feeling of a high-schooler beating on a blanket-muffled bass drum.
Long before light began, the exhaust of work boats rumbled across the incoming tide, as fisherfolk scurried from buoy to buoy, hauling and emptying traps of the tasty crustacean to become lunch and dinner for mostly passing tourists such as myself and my traveling companion – she who loves the ocean the way I love mountains, and who, when we arrive, sits for a time watching the waves while I unburden the Outback of clothing and supplies with which we furnish our sojourn.
By 9 a.m. the porch rails are blown dry of the overnight dew and flocks of Common Eider have moved in flotillas of hundreds of ducks. They are diving ducks, swimming to the bottom to pick up mussels and other shallow salt water animals and insects.
Seagulls of multiple years and décor pass from left to right, making me wonder where they are heading, those that are not resting, while an occasional cormorant silhouette beats a path to breakfast. I will follow, when my companions arise, but for now I practice with my camera, adjusting its controls to capture portraits of the birds.
A gull floats on a pond created in the rocks by the splashing surf, while another perches on the porch rail, reminding me of Snoopy the dog, who famously said one Sunday morning, “I’m not begging. I’m just sitting here patiently waiting for you to share.”
Often I have wondered how some birds seem able to inhale chunks of food seemingly far too large for the pipe into which I watch it pass. I have observed, live and in pictures, Great Blue herons swallow frogs large enough, had they been beside me as I sat watching, to have commanded their own chairs in the audience.
A yearling herring gull obliged me this morning, as it devoured chunks of bread offered by one of our human party. The bird, a first year representative of the seagull clan, clad in almost greyish-brown marbled smoothness that makes one want to pet it, opened wide to issue a long loud scream and expose a half- dollar sized entrance.
Sometimes it’s necessary to get to a place at the edge of the world, where the water seems to drop off the edge and the sun just appears out of the infinity of space unscreened by human habitation or trees. Three-hundred-million years isn’t so long ago but I am reminded there is a natural dam on a creek near home that is, relatively speaking, nearly that age. People who look more or less like me have only been here about 100,000 years.
It’s good to watch a sunrise on Muscongus and be reminded of that.
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