Angle to Key West: Fireworks (1/9)


Patch of sand next to canal – January 9, 2013

A wall of emerald water met me at East Pass. Giant swells rising big enough for the Looksha to slide her entire body across as she climbed over the top and down. The green water, the white sand, the waves crashing ashore, it looked beautiful and I wanted to convince myself that I could go, that these emerald giants were gentle, that I could find a way to land and a way back out again.

But there was no place to hide, no inlets, no coves, no islands, not for two days. The waves would wear me down, dash me ashore, and leave me there to wait and watch them crash.

I slid up the face of a giant, turned, and retreated back to the bay, back to the inter-coastal’s ditch, back to feeling dull.

The bay stretched forever, far beyond sunset, leaving me stranded in its water with no place to stop among the developed shores and marsh islands. Night grew thick and settled in. I drifted, imagining sand beaches and glory, imagining what could have been.

Then the water lit up.

A flash at first, a hint almost too small to notice, a leaping fish splashing into a cloud of green sparks, a shine in the wake of my paddle as I pulled it through the darkness.

I stared at the water. It looked like black ink and I wondering if I’d imagined the glow.

“Just reflected light from a distant house,” I thought.

I dipped my paddle and green fire sprang around the blade, bright beyond my imagination, flashing across every ripple in the water like a thousand fireflies caught in the current. The V-shaped wake of the hull sent glowing tendrils curving into the night. Fish raced from the bow, their crooked movement traced out like bio-luminescent fireworks in the sky.

I splashed and played and watched the water glow, forgetting emerald waves and white sand, forgetting what could have been, enjoying what was.

6 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Fireworks (1/9)

  1. Daniel, I don’t ever remember you reporting that you were not able to find a place to stop and sleep.

    The night paddle does sound beautiful and surreal.

  2. Bioluminescence. As magical as fireflies on a warm moonless summer night. Another one of nature’s gifts.

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