This morning I stood out on the jetty well before sunrise looking for the pre-event light show. Not much aside from the building gray-to-white-to-orange glow. Limited cloud action and such. As I stood there waiting for the moment I heard the unmistakable momentum of the swells begin building on the rocks and retreated back to higher ground before my shoes soaked through. The wake of some unknown boater from some time before reached the place where I stood. Their ripple intersected with mine and I was the wetter for it.
Turning around to scan the horizon for my mysterious boater friend, I saw the glint of first orange light up the windows of some house in Marion. They owned the earlier sunrise while I waited for the sun to clear the hills of Pocasset. Turning back to the east I waited out the climb until finally the dark hills caught fire and I became part of the new day too.
Walking back to the beach I saw footprints and tire tracks below the high tide mark and realized I wasn’t the first one on the beach this morning. Like Robinson Crusoe I recognized I wasn’t alone. Less a shock to me. As the active fishing community here starts their day during my deep sleep stage. I rise early, they rise in the middle of the night.
I read yesterday that there have been an estimated 107 billion people. I’ve felt the ripple of a small percentage of them, but have been touched by untold others. People I’ve never met, like the boater who’s wake got my feet wet this morning, or the Army Core of Engineers who built the jetty I stood on when it washed over. Or the carpenter who installed those windows betraying the coming sun in Marion. Authors read, and those who influenced them in turn. A chain of 107 billion links; of those who came before and those amongst us still.
Two cups of coffee later in conversation with a friend who’s ripple has been more profound, we heard the slapping water and boiling sound of a bluefish run right into the beach. Walking down to the water line we watched the swirling ballet of bluefish and fry dance right to the sand and back out again. I saw the reflection of four fry on the sand that had leaped out of the water to escape the frenzy. Scooping them up I flicked them back into the bay one at a time. Perhaps they’ll survive to adulthood and feed some family a year from now. Or avoid that fate and spawn another generation. Impossible to know, but whatever happens to them, it’s one token ripple sent to the future.