I walk to the cove early one morning through pine trees shrouded in ragged mist. Scrambling down the rocks, my bare feet are sure on the stone. There is salt on my lips; a breeze tangles my hair. All around is the flat gray glass of the August sea, broken only by the dark head of a harbor seal. In the distance, a nun buoy clangs – I know its red, chipped paint even though the fog hides the bell from sight. Waves lap the jagged shore and rockweed drifts in the current. I pick up a lucky pebble and put it in my pocket.
This is Davies Cove, a small inlet on Peaks Island, Maine. Growing up, I spent summers here with my cousins and brother, the six of us a happy bundle of arms and legs and hand-me-downs. Sticky with sugar from the penny candy counter, we explored the cove countless times, discovering new treasures on each occasion. I cherished these weeks adventuring together, looking up especially to Brooke, the only boy cousin and six years my elder. I remember riding around the island on the handlebars of his old bike at night, stopping by Davies Cove just to listen to the breakers and throw sparklers onto the rocks for the 4th of July. Their light glittered on the water, tiny diamonds afloat in the vast darkness.
Today, green crabs peer up at me before scuttling to safety. Sea lettuce glows emerald in the pearly light and tortoiseshell limpets stud the bottom of the rock pools. I wonder if the tide remembers. Everything in my world changed when Brooke died, but this place remains. Same weathered driftwood, same firepit, with its charred remains of lobsters, same calls of herring gulls floating through the thick air. I wonder if the land adjacent to the cove will ever be sold. For how long will I be able to visit, to remember? For how long will this wild beauty persist?
That night, a shooting star streaks across the indigo sky, and I sleep well for the first time in months.