August 8, 2010

Moon Jelly Nights

I see my departure date fast approaching, and am trying to enjoy everything, everything I can think of. I am doing everything I can. And I haven't been sleeping much.

A few nights ago I was up late, restless, and could see lightning flashing out over the bay. I climbed on my bike and headed out into the moonless dark, a sensation like flying, and ended up at the beach at Tin Can Alley. The clouds were lighting up, and I walked in the shallows, nervous of stinging nettles. I ran into some boys bait-fishing for croakers off some of the salt-beaten pylons lining the beach, and sat with them a bit, talking and drinking awful beer. Hot, we jumped overboard and swam a while. They spun their hands in the water to show me the phosphorescent moon jellies, lit by the movement like strange little lanterns beneath the waves. I got my first jellyfish sting, and barely noticed until the next day, when my arm was striped in red bands where the nettles had glanced across my skin. We swam and looked at Mars and watched shooting stars and the clouds flashed at the edge of our sight. And it was one of those strange happenstance nights where it seems like reality has been suspended, and all bets are off, and strangers impulsively swim in the jelly-lit Chesapeake.

Last night I went to a show at the Southwind Cafe; The Delvers played, a neat little string band with a viola for a fiddle. I sat at the bar and sang along with Bob Dylan songs and met a dreadlocked boy named Bradley who may as well have been beamed straight out of Santa Cruz. As he explained to me that he was trying to live sustainably, and grew his own organic food and filtered his own water, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. They played my favorite song, "Wagon Wheel," and half the bar sang along, and a 93-year old watermen in white pants and a cowboy hat got up and danced, eliciting whoops from the crowd. I realized after leaving that I had known almost every person at the cafe, and by the end of the night I had met most of those I didn't know at the start. It is a small county, and seems to be getting smaller all the time, and I am sad to leave it just as I feel I've become a real part of it. My only regret is that it took me as long as it did. But summer isn't over, and there are more nights to be had, and I am so glad.

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