A tiny sliver of the new moon shone overhead. I stood at the end of State Pier not watching the sunset. Instead I watched a barge loaded down with gravel, well out in the middle of the harbor. The gray gravel on the barge shone faintly pink.
The barge was dead in the water, the tow rope between it and the tugboat slack. I could see someone at the stern of the tug doing something to the rope; then the faint sound of a big diesel engine growling, the water between the tug and the barge churned with prop wash, the barge slowly started to move forward; the person standing at the stern of the tug waved madly at the pilot house, the sound of the tug’s engine dropped, the rope went slack, the barge slowed and stopped. Some kind of readjustment of the rope. The tug’s engine rose into an audible growl again, the water churned between the barge and the tug, slowly the barge began to move behind the tug, gradually they got up to speed and headed towards the hurricane barrier.
I watched for several minutes. The pink light on the gravel got fainter, the tug’s running lights grew brighter in the gathering darkness, tug and barge grew smaller. I got bored watching them, and turned to head home. Overhead the sliver of moon shone bright silver, the sunset nothing more than a red glow on the horizon.