A walk out to our pierhead light is a poem that awaits being set to words. As I set out from land, the pier walk as good as a ship for departing shore, the sun looked as if it were a football landing between the goal posts, right between the arms of our harbor. As I kept walking, the sun continued its plunge, moving south each time I looked up to check. It was going to be down by the time I reached the red tower at the end.
A couple was standing at the elbow, where the arm turns right a few degrees, arms around one anothers waist, standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing almost the identical image of sunset. He said to her, "Kiss me the instant the sun vanishes". I didn't look back to confirm if his suggestion worked. I was enchanted. A green flash effulged for a emerald instant, the sun vanishing fifteen degrees south, by my estimation, of the red tower.
The green flash delights the sunworshippers sending the sun on its way at Mallory Square, an expected feature of the sun's exit. The green flash off the south pier surprised me, a rarity.
The sun disappeared below the water, hardly slowing the show. Enough light remains now to see silhouttes of boaters on returning ships entering the harbor arms and not enough to scry their faces. The horizon line is best described as a watercolor wash of peach and salmon hues, clouds marked out by parallel lines of lead.
Three fisherman work the waters with spoons, hoping to land a King Salmon, and the running Kings make appearances with splashes, surfacing to snatch a morsel on the water. Only one out of three yacht captains have so far respected the no wake rule by curtailing cruising speed by the lights, so the fishermen have a few casts made hopeless by a confusion of wake wave after wake wave.
It's pleasant to eavesdrop on these enterprising fishermen, their casts making a whizzing noise in the light breeze. "When I fished the Holland Pier, I bought new lures all the time. The fish ruined them by leaving teeth marks." I am regretting having left my tackle back at my car.
I had to walk to the bath house for obvious reasons before hitting the concrete walk. There's little privacy for the call of nature until the sun goes down. The City of Muskegon has blue benches along the sidewalk through Pier Marquette Beach's sand, and a new batch of bronze plaques had just been dedicated. One family added a laminated photograph of a smiling young woman, the birth year and final year allowing calculation of age, too young. After eight years living in the community, the family name wasn't familiar. A second had a saying I wish I could affirm, "You are closer to heaven when you are near the lake". A couple honored their long time together with an invitation: "Sit Long and Enjoy the View". I looked right and saw no one sitting on their cottage porch, an exception or a sign of the shoulder season I couldn't decide. I hadn't known the family had endowed a bench near the porch where any friend, even myself, could wander up, sit down and wonder, "What's on the menu today"? Two of the daughters have made a stand in San Francisco. The son I know had to be rehearsing with his band in a garage somewhere.
At the bath house, a bus from a senior center in Holland had parked beside the sand. A picnic party of men and women sat in their wheel chairs, nibbling cheese and drinking that sparkling alcohol free Catawba that has to do. All of them gazed at the impending sundown as if they were watching opera, still and attentive.