the calm before

It was barely past sunrise, too early for the day to begin her churning. Quiet, still.

The tide was leaving again. In its wake, small pools sparkled in sunlight like stars along the shore from here to eternity.

In one I caught a glimpse of heaven—until a soft rush of waves cast ripples and it disappeared at my feet.

Exhales of water bore channels around islands of sand, where gulls and willets danced in excited morning ceremony.

A cormorant practiced ancient rituals on a rock surrounded by surf, and seemed to feel as blessed as me.

• • •

Photos ©2011 by Jen Payne; Scarborough Beach, Narragansett, Rhode Island.

16 thoughts on “the calm before

  1. Beautiful pictures and very peaceful. In particular, I like the bird footprints in the sand. To think in just a few seconds the water will wash them away . . . I can hear the waves. :-)

  2. Your post is a prose poem, and the photos are special.
    I too love the — what? not footprints, not pawprints, clawprints?
    I guess bird prints will have to do, but they are so distinctive they should really have a special word for them.
    (Tracks????????? Not quite right.)

    1. As I was self-editing this piece, I kept thinking: I should make it into a poem poem. But it ready so much better as train-of-thought prose. Am happy it reads as both!

      Bird prints I think works best – “footprints” too human, “claw prints” too ferocious?

  3. I think that some gulls have gotten a bad rap from some of the ruder members of the family, but they can be a very interesting bird (and good subjects for photography). I enjoy the image of the distant cormorant on the rock at the end

    1. I was talking to this dear gull for a while, and actually asked him to come close enough for a photo. He obliged, obviously, but I have a series of him getting closer and closer, the brave little soul. It was a magical morning for sure!

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