The night was exceptionally dark with just the tiniest sliver of a moon making a rare appearance from behind a rather thick cloud cover above the bay. I’ve walked the Satterlee Breakwater separating the bay from the cove many times, but on this night, with the thick darkness, I felt a slight uneasiness and a need to carefully watch my step so as not to step off and fall from the breakwater‘s smooth top. The wind had a nice nip to it, just enough to hasten my pace even with my jacket zipped up tight around my neck.
Regardless of the state of the tides, I have a fairly good sense of the places where rocks protrude from the water around the breakwater. But, making my way back along the breakwater to the car, I was puzzled. The silhouette of the rocks against the dimly lit bay didn’t look right. A thin, long (maybe 6 feet long and 3 feet high a little back from center?) rock protrusion was visible. This was wrong. The tides were too high for this rock formation to show, and besides, it was in the wrong place.
The wind nipped at my ears, and I stiffened my arms, driving my hands deeper into my coat pockets.
Was the rock formation moving? It seemed to turn sideways a little, or was this just the way the water was moving around it? I needed more light to make better sense of what I was seeing as I walked closer and closer to it.
F@$% you, god! F@$% you, god! You didn’t get to kill me this time, even though you wanted to! Even though you tried.”
The rocks weren’t rocks at all! This was a kayaker paddling in from around the point and along the breakwater in what was almost complete darkness.
I was so taken back by this outburst from what I thought had been rocks, I didn’t even think to shout back to see if this person, who probably didn’t see us at all, was ok. We stood still. Amazed at what we had just witnessed: a very frank, one way conversation between a man and god.
The angry kayaker made his way slowly and silently beside the breakwater, heading to the entrance of the safe haven it afforded the cove. We walked back along the breakwater, following quietly behind him, to make sure he made it safely into the cove. When he made the turn to safety from the currents, we turned around and headed back to the car again.
A brief glimpse into a very intense moment in a man’s life… What had happened to him today? What came after this? I will never know.