She runs ahead of me this morning, a rolling clear sheet of sea chasing her up the black sand. A beach to ourselves except for the couple wearing matching red vests, who's Great Dane is tentatively testing its feet in the water. The first soft reach of an approaching storm due to hit later this day, but already the surf is voluminous with foam, the sky leaden and dark in the first eyes of dawn. The wind has cold and bracing fingers. I'm not sure what possessed me to leave a warm house for this, but Manna seems indifferent to the chill, so I will move along for the exercise, a hooded sweatshirt being a warm shell of sanctuary.
As she runs, sniffs and rolls in the sand, I wonder if somewhere deep inside she is still a creature of the wilderness, a descendant of wolves, cautious in her bearing yet free and confident in her own being. Running silently with the pack along a deserted beach that stretches for ten thousand years, and an eternity of wolf-song passed down through countless generations.
At one point, she lay on her belly on the sand fifty yards or so from me. She stayed there and starred out toward the boiling surf. I watched and waited, and then turned my gaze to the horizon. A fishing boat was making it's way toward the mouth of the harbor, running lights still bright in the half light of dawn, dancing on the surface of the black swells.
I don't know what so interested her, but she stayed motionless for the longest time watching the boat churn its way north. Whether her keen ears could hear the distant cadence of laughter and talk of the fishermen as they made their way to port, or the call of the seagulls that dove and swirled around the stern, I could not tell. She was intent on it though, and her interest drew me into wondering what it was like in that warm cabin, maybe a first cup of morning coffee cupped in both hands as we make our way to safe port before the buffeting storm.
Time to go. We take the long walk back along the sand to where the car waits to journey us back home. C will probably be up, and Manna and I will have stories to tell. Stories of cold wet sand that still clings to us, and a sharp white light of new sun that happened to cut a crease briefly through the clouds as we walked, illuminating the sand in a bright shingle of stars. Of a long cast of bleak and lonely beach that we brought back in silent thought, and the transient running lights of the boat that carries us over seas of light and darkness heading true north, always bringing us home.