Summer on the headland is ever a surprise, the shock of the familiar after excess time away. Light takes on crystalline edges, burning out details most of the day. Most of the days, that is, when the downy clouds do not pull themselves over the cerulean bed of the sky, the jade sheets of the sea.
I have no reckoning of my daydream time at the windows facing the sea. That time has passed I can ascertain from the lengthening shadow of the lighter propped up on the sill. A small chromed gnomon serving as ad hoc sundial, the sun gleams from its rounded corners.
The lighter is warmed only by the sunlight. I have not touched it in days except to move it about the cottage. The last cigarette was snuffed out near a week gone. Lungs and heart having ganged up on the mind, the push came in the form of the desiccating heat of summer. It was too hot to fill my lungs with the smoke of burning weeds.
The effort to acquire more tobacco had lately lost its charm, as well. Town was a short drive or a long walk, and I felt no inclination to do either. Such a journey would require the exchange of human currency. The bank of my soul was far too empty to make those transactions on credit. I had no energy for the.
No, far better to save that energy for something vital, like food or perhaps a quart of stout. Beside, there was no rush out here at the edge of the world swaddled in slow time. The larder was full enough. My pens and journals were laid out on the desk under the windows, the ones facing the sea. The cream-colored pages beckoned to me, some already incised with the calligraphy of my thoughts that seeped sporadically from the depths of my mind. Calligraphy, or crow tracks, depending on how one chose to view the words.
Crows. The thought of the wily birds, feet dipped in ink and skittering across the journals, made me smile. Raucous squawks from a pair of gulls down on the shingle broke my reverie. Perhaps they had read my mind and wanted in on the joke. I took the interruption as a sign that I should get back to work.
Work, such as it is. I turned to adjust the casement. The breeze was softer and slower. I heard the crickets whirr again in a melodic bleat that went on longer than usual. In that short span of seconds I found myself in the backyard of my youth. The sun was high, filtering through the lacy skein of leaves over my head. I was on a blanket. A book lay on my chest, my left thumb somehow acting as bookmark. I was perhaps twelve years old, a book worm, with no idea of the world that lay ahead of me. I drifted back into a cottony nap.
Another squawk from the gulls. A resounding boom and hiss as what must have been a seventh wave pummeled the shore. My feet tingled from a deep vibration that worked its way up through the sand below the plank floor of the cottage. I sat up straight, intensely aware of the afternoon slipping away. Fingers curled reflexively as if to strike the lighter.
"There is no past, there is no future, there is only this now," I muttered to the salt air. The gulls struck out over the deepening green of the waves as I picked up a pen. My hand trembled slightly as I bent my head to write. Sunlight sparkled off the lighter, while below in the saltgrass the crickets sang to me of youth and wisdom.