In the Dark

Last night we walked across the quiet street in the almost-dark and settled onto the dock to watch the mullets jump. I can promise you with all my heart, fingers, and toes that these are words I’ve never said before, and also that even as a beach girl, I have no clue what a mullet looks like. I DO know that they’re out in force in the dark, twisting and flashing across the night, sometimes solo and other times in groups large enough to turn every head on the docks.

Or in some cases, gigantic splashes from a passing school that wants to show off their sass and leap all at once in a shimmery flicker.

I don’t know. There’s something rather Deliverance-y about this story, but totally without the pig parts. Lots of stars, lots of dark, lots of magical splashing, lots of howling laughter.

And then I stepped a bit to one side and there — standing in mud up to his ankles with a look of quiet, intense focus and surrounded by a bevy of laughing, midnight beauties, I suddenly saw him — a huge blue heron just standing there waiting to pounce.

As far as I could tell, he never did manage to grab a late dinner, and as we walked away, he was suddenly nowhere to be found. But we shared a moment in the night, even though I’m not sure he enjoyed it as much as we did.

I can tell you this, though — we’ll be back.

Addendum: We did return — same dock, same night filled with stars — and not a single mullet, not a single splash, not a single heron.