April on Pope’s Island

After a six-month’s absence, a dozen or so of the recreational boats have returned to their summer slips in the Pope’s Island Marina.

Gray and faintly yellow clouds move over me, a few drops of rain. I stand, waiting and watching, and sure enough, a faint end of a rainbow after the clouds move past. Humid spring air diffuses the bright sun low over the city, and everything shimmers faintly, and things far away from me are bluish, blue-er, blue-and-gray. The huge clouds looming and moving in a sky so big it’s almost hard to look up.

Fourteen gulls watch, from a safe distance, as three people eat a picnic on one of the concrete benches looking out at the marina. I can smell the food as I walk closer. One gray-and-white gull rushes two immature gulls, driving them away with outstretched wings. The other gulls watch the people intently; they haven’t seen a picnic in a while.

A lone man in a faded orange sweatshirt stands on the rocks below the bridge, snaps a fishing rod over his head, casts into the clear water of the harbor, and jerkily reels in his plug. He doesn’t bother to look at me as I walk above him.

Away up in the inner harbor, the silhouette of one last loon who has not flown north yet. It dives under the surface of the water bright with the white gold light of setting sun, a liquid reflection that hurts my eyes. I never see it come back up again.