When we drove home from a family party in the middle of a thunderstorm Saturday night, it didn’t occur to me that Sunday would be a “Church of the Jetty” day, but it should have. Lightning flickered purple over the highway, thunder bashed overhead, and window-wipers flogging back and forth struggled to keep up. But when I woke at 6:30 in the morning, it was clear as the blue sky outside my window that the storm had cleaned things out. An hour later, after brewing coffee, we stopped for bagels and headed to the harbor. As we tiptoed by, the same way it happens each time we do this, the summer church service taking place on the porch of the new sailing club began. Down at the docks I sang along with the first hymn.
I wish I knew the words to tell you how open and bright a clear a summer morning can be on the low-tide harbor. Everything is white and vivid and sweeping, almost as if the world has grown larger. As if the light has moved inside you. We anchored on the flats and pulled up the boat. Egrets and seagulls picked through the mud as my husband scrubbed off the slime that accumulates on the sides of the dinghy. Toward the east, the water sparkled. The sun glinted off a tilted panel out on Minot’s light. Rowing crews parted the sea, leaving a V’s in their wake and a couple slogged through the low water, dragging their boat behind. One lone fisherman took a last sideways cast, before pulling up anchor and trundling away.
In the end, we didn’t walk the jetty. We stood below it, circling, flipping over shells bleached white by the sun, watching the gulls and the terns, listening to the gurgle as the tide rolled in over the sand. But through it all, the jetty was there, hulking behind us, an altar of sorts, blessing our morning while standing guard over a perfect view.