In a couple of days we will be leaving the darkest six weeks of the year behind us.
A northwest blow is going to remind us that even though the darkest days are behind us, we still have a cold couple of months staring at us.
Words shrink as the sunlight grows. Imbolc is still weeks away.
A few years ago in late January I watched a crow at the ferry jetty caw caw caw at a gull sharing a light post. The gull did not respond.
The crow swooped down to the pavement, picked up a piece of paper, then returned to its perch near the gull.
The crow carefully ripped up the paper, piece by piece, dropping each piece, one by one, watching each piece until it hit the ground, looking at the gull between pieces as if to say Hey!
When done, the crow cawed once more, and this time the gull squawked back. The crow, now seemingly satisfied, nodded, and then flew to a trash can and cawed at a few human folk, one of whom cawed back.
Our edge of the Delaware Bay is much like the edge of any bay, littered with life and its leftovers. High tide smells alive, and low tide carries the pungent sweet smell of decay.
The tide rises, the tide falls, twice a day, every day, as it has for millenia.
And for millenia, horseshoe crabs have ambled up to the edge of the bay in late spring to mate and lay eggs, thousands on our beaches laying millions upon millions upon millions of tiny green eggs.
The youngest are already nine years old, surviving against incredible odd; the eldest have been coming here for 30 years.
Many do not survive the orgy, and a whiff of their stinking carcasses in the afternoon light remind us, should we care to be reminded, of what awaits all of us.
But here, now, the beach seemingly emanating light as the sun settles below the bay’s edge, an early evening high tide coinciding with a rising plump moon, you smell the life churning in the waves as these ancient creatures rise up again, as they have long before the first humans walked along this bay, and likely will long after we have passed on.