The Constant Sea

Image by K Moser — Pixabay

The salt smell of the sea, the foamy breakers, the incessant screaming of the gulls in their wild play. These familiar sights and sounds soothe old Matt as he walks along the beach. When life is out of kilter he wanders down to the beach again to watch that constant rolling reminder that life goes on. There’s something solid about the sea. The thought makes him smile. It’ll be here ’til the end of time.

He delights in recalling the days of long ago when he worked with his uncles on the Doughty Daisy before a vicious storm tossed her on the rocks. He sees again the line of fishing boats heading out to sea, imagines the wind, the spray, the thrill of it all when, as a young deck hand, he was part of the crew harvesting the sea.

He thinks of the wild storms that held them in port for several days – or worse, swept down on them while they were filling their nets. All hands on deck back then, fighting to ride the waves and keep the equipment – and each other – from washing overboard. Those were the days when you worked, boy!

The fishing isn’t good now, the new crews tell him. Too many fish harvested by the factory ships; stocks haven’t had a chance to replenish like they should. Cod are about gone, they say, and rarely do you find the big tuna anymore.

He turns to watch the gulls wheeling, ever on the lookout for some tasty gift from the sea, and squabbling over it when they find it. Ah, now they’ve spotted something further up the beach. A couple of gulls have landed beside it, one’s carefully inspecting it while the other argues “finders-keepers” with his mates in the air.

“Now what do you suppose those birds have found?” Matt slowly makes his way over to the spot. By the time he gets there the gulls have flown away. He looks down and laughs. A tube of Paradise Suntan Lotion – Economy size. Just what he needs. He sticks it in his pocket; there’s a trash can up along the walkway.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: INCESSANT
Your Daily Word Prompt: SUPPOSE

Maritime Morning

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is GOODBYE.

I wrote this short story some years back, but I think it will be a suitable response:

Maritime Morning

It was the perfect day for sorrow.

Grey veils drifted across the sky and mist blanketed the sea, a reflection of the murky future. Only the tiny waves rippling toward the shore disturbed the ocean’s dark surface; only a gentle rise and fall bore evidence of the giant sleeping below.

A small row-boat bobbed up and down ever so slightly with each swell, its docking rope barely pulling at the mooring. The big fishing boats were still at rest, shrouded in the mist, waiting for the fishermen to fire up their engines and point them seaward. The sailors were still at home, lingering over their morning coffee, waiting for the fog to lift.

All was silent except for one old horse that plodded along the gravel road, still half asleep. Some farmer riding out to check his fields; saving gas and trusting his horse rather than his battered old truck. No danger of him losing his way in the gray mist; habit had mapped the route indelibly in the old horse’s brain.

Down at the wharf a boy sat all alone on the lower dock, legs dangling over, toes not quite touching the water. He gazed over the sea, recording the muffled cries of invisible gulls and sandpipers as they scavenged along the shore and the far off droning of some foghorn. He studied the small seabirds as they paddled on the water’s surface, appearing and disappearing amidst patches of fog. He strained his eyes to define the that elusive line where water met sky.

From his small space in the universe, he contemplated the power of the sea. That great expanse that fed them, that bobbed them up and down from one shore to another, that challenged and tested their mettle. One day it held them so gently on the palm of its mighty hand; the next day dashed and crashed them from towering peaks into deep green troughs. Troughs that could swallow a fleet of ships at a gulp, the old-timers said. He’d seen the tails of those big waves lashing these docks and he right well believed it!

The subject of his contemplation was at this moment as docile as a lamb. The expanse of sea was as gray as the sky overhead, as gray as the fog that blanketed the shore. The only variation he could see as he looked around was a thick dark line away beyond the clearing behind him; the woods were too big to hide completely in the fog.

Somewhere on the eastern horizon a red sun would be peeping over the ocean; his watch told him so, though not one beam penetrated the cotton batting that wrapped the small town. Yes, this was a perfect day for sorrow and regret, for leaving the people and the home you love.

He stood to say a last goodbye, looking around at every familiar thing, taking mental pictures, wanting to have these scenes filed away for the lonely days ahead. He wanted to drink in as much of his home as he could before the ferry left at ten.

The sea. Would he ever see it again?

With A Few Repairs

The Ragtag daily prompt this morning was VACANT
And the Word of the Day challenge was OCEAN

Here’s my response:

With A Few Repairs

“Now this second property, as I said, is more in the price range you’re looking at. At least, I’m pretty sure if you make the owner an offer, he’ll seriously consider it. I assure you it’s structurally sound, but it has been vacant for a few years and needs a little work to bring it up to par.”

house-3039127_640

The salesman waited for the young couple to recover from their initial impression before launching into his sales pitch. “I’m sure you’re thinking it looks a little run down, but the repairs needed are simply cosmetic, replacing windows, flooring, wallpaper, and so forth. The beams are in good shape, floors are level, doors and windows all hang straight.”

He pointed up. “The roof has no major leaks and shouldn’t need replacing for a few years yet. As you can see, the outdoors needs serious work done, but I can see you’re an ambitious young couple; you’ll soon have things under control. Considering the size of this property, in time you could have a lovely flower garden surrounding the house: roses, hedges, fruit trees, flower beds. Can’t you just picture it? For, say, $300 grand?”

He glanced at the young couple to see if they were buying the dream. Their mouths had dropped open and their eyes were glazed. He’d better try another angle. “There’s one more really great feature of this property: you’ll get an amazing view of the ocean within walking distance. See the trail that goes over that hill.” He pointed toward it. “Just a kilometer farther along it ends beside a little bay. I can assure you that the view is spectacular, especially at sunset.”

“Is there a dock,” the wife asked. “Could we keep a boat there for our use?”

“Err… well… I imagine you could, though you might have to be careful launching it. There are a few rocks in the bay.”

Sunset.bay

The young couple wandered over to the house and he gave them a few minutes to consider it. “So what do you think? Does this look like a project you’d enjoy?” He tried to keep his tone neutral. “As I said, it is in your price range. Or shall we look at the third property that’s a possibility?”

The couple exchanged a silent look and the husband finally spoke. “Perhaps we should check into how much money we’ll can afford to spend on repairs before make an offer. We, uh, weren’t expecting real estate to, uh, involve quite so much work. Our jobs, you know. How much time can we spare?”

“Well, everything costs money these days. The more you can do yourselves, the more you save, but you can have a contractor take a look and give you an idea.”

“Yes.” The wife sounded relieved. “Excellent idea! We’ll definitely think about all this.”

The realtor sighed as the couple walked back to his car. He could read them like a billboard: no way were they buying this place. Like everybody else, they wanted a fully-finished property for the price of a fixer. Just as well they didn’t see the bay.

He glanced back at the house one last time. Would he ever find anyone who’d take this derelict off his great-uncle Norman’s hands?