The morning sun turned the water to molten bronze.
He sat on the deck and looked out at the expanse before him. So much water,
the detailed wave caps blurring quickly into the almost-infinite distance.
In these moments he often thought about mortality. It was hard to avoid
in the midst of the utter solitude and vast scale. Mintues earlier he had
been asleep below deck and during those moments there was nothing of him
here. Nothing but miles and miles of sea, miles and miles of sky, both bearing
solemn witness to the daybreak. The fact that he was here now, but was not
moments ago, always caused him to drift into objective overdrive. He would
stretch the timeline until he reached the realization that the sky, wind
and sun paid no notice to his existence (or lack thereof) while he sat in
awe of them. Whether he slept, watched, had never been born, and long after
he was dead, the sun, wind and sky would pay no more notice to him than
they did this morning. Just like every other morning.
He intentionally woke early each day for this in the hope that it would fill him with life, a feeling of robust existence. Instead it always seemed to make him feel small and insignificant. It was hard to believe that he mattered at all when facing such magnitude. He would scan the sky and imagine what he and the boat looked like from a few hundred or few thousand feet up. A speck littering the blue-green ocean, barely differentiated from a large piece of sun-bleached driftwood.
There was a chance that the dolphins would breach this morning. That usually helped placate his sense of detachment, brought his sense of personal scale back into perspective before he managed to diminish himself entirely. It struck him as odd, thinking back to eight days ago when he had first seen them. The moment was extraordinary as he peeked into an alien world. It made him feel like an outsider, a tourist drinking in the sights of a strange locale, but if he were to see them this morning it would instead provide a sense of belonging, recalibrate his position in the world. Eleven days isolated in the Pacific was all it had taken for him to begin identifying with other species, finding solace in their mutual lack of importance.
He smiled at the thought, "The dolphin, my brethren."
sun was fully in view now, drawing a jagged golden line directly to him
from the horizon. A light breeze brought a tuft of hair down into his eyes
and the edge of the jib let out a pop. His attention drifted up to the canvas.
It seemed very loud, but he knew that all sense of relativity was gone.
When the wind was still he would almost swear he could hear his own heartbeat.
Without the background noise of the world every audible sensation seemed
He always took care to be especially quiet in the mornings, wondering what sound or motion of the boat would finally wake her. It became a little game he played, holding himself back from rousing her, instead letting the world bring her to him. The wind tossing the boat, the crack of lightning two days ago, the chop of the sea. No matter what broke her sleep, it was never too soon. It was like a child's Christmas to him. The anticipation of seeing her face, the bow of her lips, the flecks of brown in her green eyes, the few small freckles along the underside of her jaw. It made him feel like he was seven years old again, trying to hurry the cloak of sleep so as to speed the arrival of St. Nick, and at the same time swimming in the anticipation. The warm, soft moments that drag.