Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunrise, Stray Cats, and Words

It's half-an-hour till sunrise in Rodanthe, NC on a cloudy Wednesday, but the impending dawn is already separating the ocean from the sky.  The dense clouds make it likely that Old Sol won't be visible as anything but indirect light this morning.  Sitting here in the cozy warmth of the cottage, I'm recalling several Januaries ago when I shot the cover photo for A Month on a Barrier Island, the book Steve Lewis and I collaborated on - his poems, my photos.

To get the shot I envisioned of Bonner Bridge, I left the cottage just as the sky was greying, drove quickly the dozen or so miles north to Oregon Inlet, and set up my tripod among the rocks on the southeast shore.  I wanted to capture the bridge in the red-orange glow of the morning, and I figured I'd just barely made it.  I took some test shots and waited.  And waited.  And waited.   It is a remarkably long time between daylight's beginning and the actual appearance of the sun, especially on a cold, windy January morning.  By the time I got the shot, I'd been there nearly forty-five minutes, and I was chilled to the bone.

My only company on that outing, other than the ever-present gulls, was a young, feral cat perched on the rocks several feet away.  It had no interest in coming closer, nor was it amenable to my closing the distance between us, but it stayed.  It listened while I whined about the cold.  It didn't leave when I mused about the tardiness of the damn sun.  In fact, the youngster remained until I packed up my gear, at which time it disappeared among the rocks.  A photo of my friend appears within the pages of our book.

I come to the cottage called Duckdog to write.  Steve holds weeklong retreats three times a year, weeks that have become so important to me that I pretty much schedule my year around them.  My favorite is this one, January.  Distractions are minimal since nothing is open, most of the cottages are vacant, and the weather is not conducive to long afternoons lounging on the beach.  It is a time devoid of any responsibilities other than to write.  So I write.  Words and phrases that may not get past my next draft, but for now are gems that simply need a little polish to bring out their essence.

It's truly remarkable how fast the day goes.  We begin work in the morning after breakfast; when next I look up from my writing nest on the love seat in the living room, it's after noon.  Too bad time doesn't move that fast when I'm waiting on a windy shore for the sunrise.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to be here with you, Pard. Waiting for the sunrise.

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