At the Ebb Tide

As I started over the bridge, NPR announced an upcoming interview with James Taylor.  The interviewer started by acknowledging that he claimed to have written You Can Close Your Eyes during his children’s younger days.

As I crested the Bay, I heard my own voice, off-key, breathy, singing Sweet Baby James.  My son called it “The Young Cowboy Song”.  He begged me to sing it every night, sleepy eyes searching my face.  Halfway through, he’d put his little hand on my lips and say, I sing Mommy, you’re coughing too much.  We’d close together, softly, the sounds of  an unseen guitar reaching for the chords.  

In front of me, a couple argues in passionate French.  They could be father and daughter; they could be lovers; they could be that comfortable sort of old married pair whose tone foretells of long strolls and close embraces.  Beyond them, rain falls on the deck and on the eternal waves of my Pacific.  

They might be speaking German, come to think of it.  My hearing can no longer be trusted.  She gazes out the window and runs one small finger over her chin.  He tilts his head.  When they fall silent, they seem to have reached an agreement about something only they can understand.

I’m bound for Pigeon Point Hostel.  I got a notice on Wednesday that Michael, the old surfer dude who works there, will be leaving after sixteen years.  On a whim, I logged into the website and reserved a bed for tonight.  Michael’s lazy smile, the easy set of his shoulders, and the sun-kissed slant of his timeless eyes have greeted me on every visit to the lighthouse.  It seemed only fair to drive two hours to wish him fare-thee-well.  I have no doubt that he would do the same.

It’s the eighteenth day of the sixty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


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