Sunday, November 16, 2014

ocean blue / ocean grey / cats and dogs / another day / beeswax

A cloudy morning, relatively cool so heading out on the morning mosey with flannel shirt no sunglasses. First we meet two pups whom we’ve met before and a ruckus of barking ensues—not Josie, but them, two little dogs with curls. One gets pulled back down a driveway but soon breaks free, comes running toward us, and Josie does not care, seems to know it’s all in good fun, and it is, but soon, anyway, we are on our way.

We head down one lane, make a broad turn, head up another. Up ahead are two or three people and a cat. We’ve seen a few cats here in the neighborhood, a black and white one down near us and a few tabbies like Elliott here and there, though none quite like Elliott, the size of Elliott, this one up ahead just another Elliott-wanna-be but only halfway there. This cat dances toward us on a diagonal arching its back as some cats do, puffing out its fur as some cats do, running on tippy-toes and angling strangely, now, intently, directly at us as some cats do … but not too many.

Poor Josie, all anticipation, pulling me along, tail wagging, heading straight into this cat.

This cat who stops directly in front of Josie all arched, poofed, and tippy-toed. Josie leans in and the cat swiftly raises a paw, slashes downward on Josie’s nose. There’s a squeal and a hiss and a little ado and then the cat scurries sideways down a driveway behind a car and is gone. Josie looks around, bewildered, I guess, and an ordinary man walks by, says something like “goodness gracious,” and I see no blood so we carry on.

Spending a day in beeswax, making ornaments and candles, thinking and musing. Another cloudy day in the 60s. Thinking a bit about that big snowstorm back in the U.P. and the early cold that came with it, feeling a bit of nostalgia and longing for the watching of the storm, for the watching of the snowfall, for the feel of the cold and its freshness and its bite, a bit of wistful romance thinking about a fire catching hold in the woodstove and its warmth pouring out, filling the room, but alas, in reality, a cold floor.

The ocean on a cloudy day is different from the ocean on a sunny day. It is the same ocean, no doubt, the same seawater, the same fish, the same rocks, sand, shells, birds, surfers, and boats, but it looks different on a cloudy day. More ominous, maybe more what it is, slightly treacherous, but just as beautiful, just less welcoming, more like Maine, maybe, and less like California, though California is certainly much more than this one little spot.

I like the ocean on a cloudy day and so does Josie. He runs in wide circles, just plum happy to be running in wide circles, chasing a shore bird now and then, and we both particularly liked the orange and black one with the long bill, maybe it was a short-billed dowitcher? Who knows. It seemed singular, but there are so many different sandpipers, not the least of which is the least sandpiper. I love their long bills and legs and the way they stand so still then scurry upright, as if proud, along the water’s edge, the water’s edge always changing. There are layers: the shorebirds, the surfers, the pelicans, the boats. Surfers bobbing on waves, ducking into waves, riding waves, cutting forward and back and falling head first and falling butt first. Pelicans fly low just above the water in formations of five or three or seven and on a cloudy day they are dark and look like warplanes. Beyond them the fishing boats, going out, coming in, and the boats are designed for work, steel-grey and white and black with wires and ropes and masts and lines and the front end—I am not nautical—is big and bulky and the middle squishes down to nothing and then the back end may be dragging a big tub or something—they are workhorses, you can tell, and they move resolutely through grey water glossed here and there with gold.

Josie runs in wide circles away from me and back, happy as a pup can be. The short-billed dowitcher or whatever it is takes flight, circles round, lands, sticks its long bill into the sand, pulls out food, something from where the ocean has been.

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