What I See, part 7, by Karen Joy Fowler
Yesterday I resumed my cliff walk after a holiday pause. Christmas came to town much like the circus, complete with parties, guests, dreadful influenzas, and deadlines. It was either the circus or else the four horseman of the apocalypse. Those are hard to tell apart.
Mostly I enjoyed it, because my family is good, witty company and there was drinking and even, god help us, charades. But it was an indoor sort of fun, dampened by the fact that just about everyone but me got sick at some point. I gained some pounds, lost some fitness, and when I got back to my walk, I felt those things. The ocean, I’m happy to report, is still there.
My walk was a bit later in the day than usual, which yesterday meant sunshine and bluer water. But across the way, where Monterey should have been, I saw only fog, piled like snowdrift along the horizon. The dog beach was small, but there was beach so MJ and I went on down. The steps have become a mermaid stair, the railings along the bottom flight all garlanded in seaweed from time spent underwater.
And remember the four-foot wall I mentioned a few posts back? More like six feet yesterday. It occurs to me that I have yet to find the bottom of that wall, which when fully exposed may turn out to be something you could see from space.
It was a beautiful morning on which to resume my usual life. By the time the walk was over the fog had crossed the water and wrapped us up, but while we were on the dogbeach, the sun still shone. A dozen sandpipers dashed about on the wet sand like little wind-up toys. I find the leg action of sandpipers very pleasing. I can’t be the only one. Glassy blue water. The silhouettes of the sandpipers. MJ rolling in the rotted seaweed. And something washed up on the sand that my marine biologist daughter could no doubt easily identify but I could not. It appeared to be part of someone’s brain.
I touched it with the toe of my shoe and it seemed too solid to be sea-life and too soft to be shell. MJ came to see what I was looking at, took one sniff, and then backed quickly away. Twenty paces on I found a second piece of it, which MJ also gave wide berth to. MJ is good at not seeing what she doesn’t wish to see and yesterday she did not wish to see brain bits in the sand.