Thursday, March 09, 2006

Summer Spent on the Marine Path


There are times when I think, I tell myself, that life will get no easier than it is today. No husband, no mortgage, not even a cat to care for. Just me. And if I decided to simply turn around and pursue a different life, one less chosen by most, one less approved by my parents, one less paid, it could be possible and wholly fulfilling. Today, I’m filled with such possibilities and I think back to a path I didn’t decide to follow.

I studied Marine Biology once, on the Outer Banks, on an island with no adults.

I worked outside for the summer, thighs deep in water, sleeves damp and soggy. Hours were spent chasing buried clams, slipping in the wet sand, tossing fistfuls at each other, dodging long curled pieces once we learned they were worm poop. Crab pots hauled over and hoisted up brought new life to our homemade aquariums, and it was from there that I plucked a big orange sea-snail--known after that day as Jonas--cupped him in my hands and sped-walked to the classroom, and gently as a mother’s touch, released him into my watery glass box.

We wore skinned knees and burnt shoulders every day after the first. We were ten years old again, but with a Jeep with no doors and no roof, and we drove fast and far with our feet hanging out to the road and the wind. We camped in the sand in Ocracoke, ten to a tent, and pumped a keg that we sneaked over the ferry under a blanket. We kicked phosphorescent tides up onto our legs and pushed each other in the moonlight as we filled our cups, then lay down right on the sand to watch the stars to the tune of the car radio, turned up as far as it could go.

We slept in triple bunk bends and stomached mess-hall meals. The food was off--everything tasted a bit like seaweed because of the air. After dark, we shot pool at the only bar in town; the Royal James, and it was there that, for the first time, I heard Janis Joplin’s mournful rasp in “Bobby McGee” over chicken tenders with hot sauce.

There was an island across from our island, and wild ponies were the only inhabitants, though they were squat and slow, they were wild still, and we watched them run across the salt-licked hills in groups of three and four. We sat in a rickety boat with a bum motor, puttering as far out as we could in the sound, and studied wild dolphins that followed us, flipping and frolicking and the professor told us that dolphins were the only other animals in the entire world that had sex for pleasure, and that’s what they were doing in a big heap next to the boat, and we turned our eyes away to be polite.

Today, I wonder, if it’s too late to go back. To alternate my gaze between the miscroscope and the ocean. To pursue that life lost, that summer spent when nothing mattered but the weather and the water conditions.

14 comments:

Oob said...

You and I both seem to be searching, questioning... funny. Nice visuals in this post. I can almost feel the grittiness of the sand, the heat of the sun.

Just Some Guy said...

Great post! Skinned knees and burnt shoulders! Love it...

Adam said...

Having the a semi-adult "summer of sun" is, in my eyes, a requirement for life.

The question to ask is: was it the work that was fun? or was it the people and other stuff that made the summer. In my experience... its always been the people that make the difference.

marrow-from-harrow said...

Your writing is beautiful. Like me. Beautiful me.

You practice good use of the phenomenon known as alliteration. About this I learnt some beautiful things as a child. Now, as a beautiful man, it comes back to me. Thank you, k. For this, I offer you the chance to gaze on my form as often as pleases you. My beautiful, beautiful form.

GeminiWisdom said...

Thanks for posting, K. And I hope you become literary because this post was just absolutely STUNNING. BTW, did Brad Pitt just post on here?

DB said...

It's never to late to do what you love and believe in. What else is there in life?

Thank you for your comment, come back and visit again :)

DB

Anonymous said...

your writing is truly lovely. like a little break during a storm of a day.

Shimmering Blond said...

K, this is your most visceral, literary post yet. I DO get to be your editor when we're both ready, right?
xo, "S.B."

Adam said...

Haha... I seriously think we're going down the same trail in different cities. kind of funny.

Sarah said...

Your post took me back to a trip to Okracoke. Ever come upon the ghost crabs? Almost impossible not to! Except that you'd never know they were there -- hundreds, thousands, creeping around your blissful ignorant feet -- until you turn on your flashlight.

Oob said...

Thanks, K.

jase said...

yes, i can almost taste the seaweed and smell the seasalt. i have also experienced this kind of life in the past and i can only looked back and wonder if could recoup such bliss!

Janet said...

At 24, I'd say it's not too late to do ANYTHING.

Thanks for your comment today. As for how I "maintain the blog love" I like to think it's partly by visiting other bloggers just like other bloggers visit me. In my mind, no blog is too big or too small. If the writing is good (as it seems to be here) you need not worry. Network a bit and the readers will come.:)

Chai Anyone? said...

its never too late. pursue ur dreams. i abondoned all at 26 and went back to med school a few months before turning 27. wont be a doc til im 31 and im still at it. and there is no more divine feeling than pursuing ur dreams.