Child of the Weather is building castles of sand scooped out of the beach, all around the boulders of the groins and the breakwaters, from beneath the bulkheads until they reach, a toppling, geometry. Child takes and makes: A deep moat near shore. Then a long linear battlement of sand bars. Another moat… Another bar… That’s as far as she got, this time. Because the Weather Herself climbed down from those seventy knot gusts in a fifty knot blow to a normal small craft warning. And took the Child home.
Well I tell you what. The house has stopped swaying on its tree-trunk wide, tree-limb high pilings. Driven thirty feet into the ground they shake, but do not shatter. This small castle of wood, behind a sea wall, standing twenty-two feet above low tide, its narrow gable end faced toward the sea; braced at these heights and depths the Castle and all it keeps can survive. For a while… When Weather lets her Child out to play and it is only, play. And the windows only chime like a baby rattle. For a while. When the highest storm-gathered tides will wash under.
And not away.
We will have the brief and pleasant privilege to watch the sun come up and how for an instant the lowest edge of brilliance pools on the horizon, like a kiss. And hazard a guess what will come this way by the clouds, if they are soft and round or in thin long threads and what direction they are coming from and say, Tomorrow it will rain; Tomorrow it will snow; as temperature and time of year allow because, there will be one more day. And inhale deeply of that late summer perfume, its tropical intoxication on those other days (you know the ones I am speaking of) and say, Hurricane… Coming this way. And wonder will this be the next? And only One of Many for the year? Or for us The Last. Only Child of the Weather knows and will not tell.
This time we only bend. Only the clouds break to reveal, a coruscation of Stars!
Mark Seth Lender is the Explorer in Residence at Living on Earth, which is nationally broadcast on Public Radio to a weekly audience of 1,600,000 listeners. The segments he creates are based on his fieldwork with wild animals spanning three decades and seven continents.
You can find out more about his work, including Salt Marsh Diary, A Year on the Connecticut Shore, Cardinal Points, True Stories of Life on Earth, Smeagull the Seagull, and his first book of photography, The Decisive Sequence here.