Monday, July 18, 2011

the dock days

in the summertime, 7:47pm is the best time of day.  the sun sits low in the sky and the whole world is awash in rich yellows.  sometimes, the sky seems so thick with the day’s residue heat, that even the particles of light fatten into lemony brilliance. it’s a soft sort of beauty and if i were to skim the sky with a knife, i would come away with a pad of sweet butter.
usually, about an hour before the Best Time of Day, I grab my bag and head out to the river.  i like to go to the dock after work.  the dock with the best view is fortuitously the dock closest to my apartment.  oftentimes it is filled with messenger gangs (i hope i coined the phrase, but they’re harmless really) - just bike couriers who are either finished for the day or have come to grab a quick break with their friends.  i know this because i hear them talking - large circles of black-clad 20-somethings whose bikedom is a wreath of beater fixed gears and sweet rims laying at awkward angles against the flexing wood.  i usually find the corner of the dock and splay out and stare up at a meandering sky, grateful for this sweet spot on the river.  i am reminded of how many times this dock has been a friend...
in the winter, my breath froze in the air as i whispered my hands warm for the run ahead.  i would pause and watch a crow make it’s circles in the sky, the buildings lashed together like frozen corpses my busy mind draining until it matched the gray sky that matched the frozen river.  so quiet and so cold.  this unforgiving season promised to us every year brings a beauty in it’s cold claws.
when it’s really nice out and i have no place to be, i’ll usually end my long runs on this dock, cooling down by it’s the edge. i twist and turn and tuck and lunge and reach and gasp and breathe the musky wood and marshy waters. the greatness of this post-run moment is usually amplified by whatever song is on my ipod and if it’s temper trap, jonsi, freelance whales, lykke li or the like, i feel as though i’m in a movie and this is the part where i am the coolest.
the granite steps that lead down the wooden planks is where i sat with a friend who’s heart was breaking. while strangers took their turns by the water’s edge reading, talking, dancing, stretching, we kept our bent knees facing west, sharing our hopes for each other’s lives, and bouying our hearts with truths that will endure.  with the sun setting we rose to find our way back, leaving the rich dusk to the geese and night owls.
these past few months have gone by quickly. the sky turns darker sooner, the wind picks up and on it you can feel a change coming.  these days play out unaffected by our daily lives, rolling from one dawn to the next, because it’s what Time does....and yet.  we are so much changing.  or so much staying the same - but isn’t that change, too?  
i’ve recently been to oregon for a family reunion, to maine to my beaches.  to maryland for my grandparent’s 60th anniversary, and soon to boulder, to visit my twin.  so much has happened and so much has changed.  we put things down on a calendar and we count the days.  but the days that carry us there are the ones where we become.  the dock days.  the every days.  the days where we shut off our brains, lie on on our backs and face the blazing sky.  maybe we hold the hand of a friend, maybe we let our hand be held.  breathing it all in, it all deeply in.  and then maybe we see we’re just a little further along than we thought.  the musty watered wood that stretches out beyond the tides takes us farther out then we could ever be on our own.  and sometimes that’s just enough.

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