By Tony DeLorger © 2012
The gnarled wooden planks moaned under foot as I walked slowly down the wharf. Their weathered striated surface leaving the grain lines like swirling free form patterns, contrasted in dark greys, damp but hard enough to still support. The rusted iron bolts that held the beams in place were like lumps on the surface, dotted in neat patterns, gripping the structure to hang on for just a few more years.
I looked down as I walked, the slits between the planks revealing a deep green water sloshing about underneath, lapping at the piers and bubbling up like the head on a cold beer. The wind had picked up and the horizon now appeared broken with a billion peaks and troughs, the crests all foamy and white against that deep grey-green over the treacherous deep water.
I sat at the edge on the end of the wharf and felt the salt water against my face, like tiny salty kisses, wave after wave. The air was fresh and the water from below occasionally snapped at my bare feet, the sensory exhilaration making me squirm on the hard boards. I loved it when a storm approached, the stirring of the water seemed to create the same feeling in me, like excitement and dread all mixed into one pure experience.
In the distance a tanker sat seemingly motionless, its broad girth displacing so much water it seemed unaffected by the swell. As the light faded and the clouds rolled in swallowing up the remaining light, it became just a dark silhouette, solid, with everything around in in flux.
Above me, light danced at the edge of clouds, the last of the white linings before the brooding grey masses enveloped the sky. The wind was now thrashing my hair around, and the sea spray felt like a thousand tiny needles against my cheeks. It was like a symphony, the music slowly reaching its crescendo, symbols crashing, strings squealing and drum beats rolling into a frenzy.
The water below was now whipping up to the boards and I suddenly felt my backside wet and the cold like an electric zap brought me to my feet. I felt the sudden urge to conduct this natural extravaganza of sound, and giggled to myself when I began, as if to Beethoven I swayed and waved my invisible baton, while the first crack of lightning lit up the western sky. I pointed to it, as if it were from my direction, then tempered the sea with an outstretched palm, ready for the next crack. As I looked up and pointed the baton, the sky ignited with an awesome display, the lightning split like a cat-o-nine-tails, covering the distant shoreline with a luminous glow. This storm was mine, and I was in control, guiding it to expression then receding it to rest, wave after wave. The clouds were now racing across the sky, as if late for an appointment; melding then parting, swirling and streaking as the wind pushed them inland.
At some point, I felt compelled to withdraw and make my way back home before that lightning came too close for comfort. But by the end of the wharf I turned around to see a single shard of light break through the remaining clouds. It was like a message, a statement that the worst was over. I stood there to watch the sky slowly open and the light reveal the coastline below. Suddenly colour returned and within ten minutes most of the clouds had moved on. I smiled, satisfied by this little treat and waked home to find some warm, dry clothing.