Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mnemosyne's Kiss

My wife, boy and I were rushing through the public access to Neptune Beach last night. The Space Shuttle Endeavor was going to be launched. At 7:50 in the evening, the beach was dimly lit by a moon, a smidge on the waning side, but slathered in layers of cloud. Sea foam flopped along the sand, over our feet. Looking south, into the strong wind, was a dense sea spray fog. I left my hoodie in the car. I was a little chilly. Dangnabbit wind. Small groups of folks huddled around their mobile phones, connected to the NASA site. T minus 5 minutes.

I had brought my binoculars. I don't use them much any more. Star gazing, sometimes. Tonight, it was more cloudy than starry. Nothing really to point the binoculars at. There was a small, greenwhite pin-light near the ocean's horizon, about 5 degrees north of east. Through the binoculars I can see subtle shades of black of the fishing ship's shape.

There was a tanker. It was underway without lights. Creeping blacked-out city on waves. Safe passage through the Gulf. Socolddamnwind. Balls to 8 watch again. So tired. No stars. Socolddamnwind. Glow. Off starboard now. Water ablaze. Tanker. Thrashing souls. Screams in my head. So, so damn #$%&ing cold. Damn wind.

"Daddy, can I see?" my boy says, tugging at my pants. T minus 2 minutes and counting.

"Huh? Um, there's nothing to see out there. But, sure." I put the binocular strap over his head. "Y'know, your dad used to do this for a living."

A hoodie would have been nice.


Corrina said...

Oooh. How did I miss that? I should have taken the boys to that.

Persnickety Ticker said...

We went to watch it off that big bridge over in Nocatee. Lots of clouds. Not so cold. Red light in the distance for about a solid minute then too cloudy to see. Woo. Hoo. I can't believe I interupted my nap for that...