Mouth of Crystal River – February 5, 2013
I saw the nuclear plant’s towers from Cedar Key. They looked like a pair of cigarette butts stuck in the horizon. They hung there for hours, tiny white squares with steam rising into the sky.
I paddled toward them and wondered if I moved at all. They seemed riveted to the horizon. I had to look behind me and watch Cedar Key disappear to believe it. The ocean swallowed the shore, the land dropped away, but those towers refused to come closer.
They grew by imperceptible slivers. I only saw it when the shore slipped into view underneath them–a thin black line over the blue-gray water–and held them aloft.
Then they began to rise every moment. Their color shaded in. Their steam curled skyward. Their boxy sides smoothed into perfect curves.
At sunset I pulled even with them two miles off shore at the end of a long spillway where they dump hot water into the ocean. Their lights turned on like a city’s. White strobes blinked around the tops. Yellow bulbs glowed underneath. The whole place felt alive with electricity, shining like the sun against the dark islands at the mouth of the Crystal River. I slipped past and into the shadows of palm trees and grass.
It took an entire day to make the towers real, to pull those cigarette butts into glowing concrete monsters hundreds of feet high, to add those slivers until they came to life. And tomorrow they will shrink again, sliced away piece by piece as I move across the earth.