Nearly everything stopped for two days. There was silence. Vehicular traffic ceased which seemed to erase tensions built up from years of sound pollution and I walked in a foot and a half of snow and realized, rather guiltily, as though I had fractured fine china, that I had stepped on two snow angels a child had made earlier that morning.
A solo leaf, that managed to cling on until then, far past fall, gracefully somersaulted midair, and like a sporadic mouse skirted and scraped the very top layer of snow speaking a language where only sssssssshhhhhhhhhh was possible.
At times the wind picked up a handful of snow, turning it into a little glittery tornado swirling about, until each particle dissipated back into the whole where it was granted, once again, the gift of invisibility.
This is the first Key.
The sky: that expanse of gray with shading rendered to give it depth and dimensionality.
Then the sun daggers straight down like an arrow through the sheath, illuminating a minute circumference of the sea, for a brief second, before shielding itself again.
The tide rises toward us. The toddler’s footprints erased within the first few waves, as though we were never here.
Yesterday, the beach felt like the end of world. There was a subdued quiet – so few people – and the sand and the water splayed out in such a cool muted palette like the contrast had been lightened to the extreme, a pale pastel, the water a ghostly turquoise and the sand a light gray to white gradation that began to fade until it disappeared.
There were no waves, which caused the rhythm of time to stop, just a true silence except for the slightest ebb on the shore from the, barely there, subtle licks of gravity. No one worked or cleaned or hammered or used machinery, as was the custom in this region.
The purple flag on the pole indicated that dangerous marine life lurked, but no one was threatened or submersed in the waters of that flat mint julep sea.
Two pelicans flew in tandem above me, but even they seemed to know how to silence their wings during this obscure moment full of stillness and stops.