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An Evening at Big Bend Dock

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An evening at Big Bend Dock

I walk across the long, narrow dock toward what can only be considered an island edge, the intermediary zone between civilization and creation. I sit down on the dock’s wooden bench and take a deep breath. I am on the boundary between here and elsewhere. Peering ahead, I feel as if I am both a resident perceiving the beyond and an outsider experiencing the island from within. And yet, at the edge, sense supersedes the need to form perspective. To think too hard is to waste a timeless moment where I and the world around me can simply be.

I look up as the clouds wisp rapidly through the air, swift as the salt marsh ripples below. They shadow a pale peachy sky, which dependably dims in the routine absence of its glowing source.

The warm glimmer reflects from the tidewater, completing a near symmetry of the landscape. Even the chiseled wood of Big Bend Dock glows a soft pink. The smooth darkening expanse of marsh grasses contrasts with the sky, the tide, and even the large slab of two-by-fours upon which my feet rest. 

Lights flicker in the distance – headlights cross bridges, houses hunker down on the horizon line, and towers flash red – but they are all so far away. They are night lights for Dewees, seen only from the island edge.

The wind whips from my left and across my body with force and power, yet care and prudence. It is a warm chill that lifts me from within myself, taking with it all distasteful energy, removing the thoughts that are unwelcome in such an atmosphere. The wind is fair. It does not injure nor disturb. It is neither angry nor vengeful. It simply gusts away the grime – a vacuum for the soul.

The air smells of salt and life. One whiff is enough to become part of the air and everything around. The sturdy dock. The tidal creek. The clouds and cordgrass, now the same silhouette shade against the pale evening sky and water.

But just as I am a part of this maritime microcosm, sounds all around alert me that it is also apart from me. It is something else much greater, much stronger, and much more harmonious. I hear it all. I hear cicadas singing amongst the palmettos, a sweet symphony of whispers. The high-tide ripples slosh soundly against the wooden framework of the dock. The pop of the pluff mud and fiddler pitter patter play percussion in the evening orchestra. An avian shriek pitches in an operatic melody in the distance. And above all else I hear the wind as it softly whispers into my ear, “It’s okay…I am here, and so are you.”

Jared Crain was a summer intern this summer. He is finishing up his degree at Berry College this fall.