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BENEATH A SKY OF BLUE
© Vickey Stamps
Upon the Jetty, He stood, Invisible to mortal man, salty spray kissing his face,
Silent he stood, this unseen one, He who put a name to all life upon earth and sea
Kneeling, patting the waters, he paused to count air bubbles within the foamy waves
They danced for him, as if in a soft and gentle ballet, moving ahead to wash softly, rocks before them.
Stretching out an arm, he calmed the waters, whitened the clouds and caressed the forest trees.
He smiled upon it all, knowing this to be his special place. This one invisible to mortal man, Beneath a sky of blue
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Here is one of my newer stories. If you wish to read others, please click left upper left hand side for others.
© Vickey Stamps 9:34 a.m. (2/25/09)
The old man wondered what the time might be, wishing he could read the stars, using them to tell time, as folks, he’d read about, could do. He sat in his small boat, each a part of the sea upon which the boat bobbed, on gentle waves
The boat was not large, and could hold perhaps three. A transmitter sheltered inside the home made canopy, across its end. There, beside it, this commander of his own little boat had placed buckets to hold the fish he caught, and a water proof bag with foods for the time in which he’d planned out todat. A in harvesting from the sea. Beside the buckets, were two containers, one of water, the other of coffee. A couple lines of thin rope were coiled beside the supplies.
The old man had been working with both pole and net, happy with what he had caught. He’d go home soon. Evening was near. Old Jake, his mongrel dog would be waiting for him . Marty would clean and smoke the fish, sitting some aside for himself, selling the rest to the small country store, that sat down the road,on the edge of the forest near their tiny coastal town.
He and Martha had found this bit of paradise and settled in, to spend their older age. Now she had passed on, leaving him and Jake behind. The days were long without her, and the cornbread and greens, with a touch of the pork belly she’d added, when they had it, didn’t taste the same when he cooked it. He’d put their small savings into the purchase of the old boat with its large motor. It brought in a bit of money and gave Marty something to fill the days.
He’d let himself drift out and away from the harbor. The day was a nice one, with a full sun that warmed his shoulders. Gentle waves whispered a song of life, a gentle soothing tune for him as he fished
He pulled the cord upon the motor, and it sputtered, then died. Again he pulled upon the cord, again it sputtered. Again it died. The next time it would not start. He would wait another few minutes and try. It would not start.
Evening began to fell upon the waters and he wondered at what he could do. The Oars might help some. He would try rowing to the sound coming from a distant buoy. Its sound was a deep drawn out noise like a ‘Burr’.
Buoy 109, he read on the surface of its rounded structure, having gotten his flashlight, and shone a light upon its surface. Night would soon bring a deeper darkness, with only a sliver of moon deep in its sky, and a small scattering of stars. Marty tied a small heavy weight onto thin rope, long in length, succeeding in throwing the weighted end of rope, through the looped bar atop the buoy, finding the end in the water, and bringing it back to the boat. He tied both ends of the rope to the engine, as an anchor to him and the boat. He whispered a silent prayer that the waters would remain calm, along with a thank you for bringing him to the buoy. In the approaching darkness, a ray of light shone above him. A lighthouse and harbor must be near,
Earlier, he had used the transmitter, hoping the signal would be picked up and he would be rescued. “D as in Dingy”, he’d said. “D: he repeated “as in Dingy3972084. Marty here. Motors out and needing assistance. Please respond.” Only static had returned. He wondered if…had they heard him, they would be able to find him in his small boat. With night near, it was not likely. He would make the food and liquids last as long as he could, and hope that help would somehow come.
Anchored now to the buoy, he returned to the transmitter…”Dingy 3972084, checking back. I am tied to Buoy 109. Do you copy? Return please.”Only static again. He would rest now, conserve his strength. He had rowed for a long time to get to the buoy. Now he ate a small portion of the sandwich he’d brought and an apple. Coffee was warming so he’d have a cup of that.
His life vest still on, Marty, rested his head again the seat at the opposite end from the canopy, stretching out as best he could. He knew he must rest. He drifted into both sleep and dreams, and was once again a young Marty, waking to the smell of biscuits and bacon. Sometimes there would be gravy to pour across the biscuits. His soft feeling mother would welcome him with a hug, gathering him into her softness.
The father would return from his day of work, never too tired to play with him. He would lift him in his strong arms, swinging him in a circle till he became dizzy. His father would put him down and they’d laugh together as they both caught their balance. At night it would be those arms he’d sink into, curling up and making himself smaller, begging the father for more stories he always kept inside his hed, and shared with him. It was the mother then, who’d take his hand and see him into his bed, bringing its covers up to his neck, and giving him a kiss of good-night. He remembered those childhood days and it calmed him, as he lay in the boat, bobbing still upon the sea.
He’d met his Martha then, and while their marriage had held no children, they’d had the love and sharing of mostly good days. Marty had worked hard and Martha had kept house at their small apartment in the big city. The parents were long gone from them both. It became…one day, a time to find something more….something different. They’d go out in the car whenever they could, always searching, always knowing they’d find a better place to finish out their life together. Then they had found the small cabin in the woods and known it was meant for them…for them and Jake, who was growing old along with them. They’d loved the peace and serenity there, the night sounds and small animals that came near to see what they might be doing in this home in the woods. Now Martha too, was gone. He and Jake were alone. He woke now, returning to the transmitter. “D as in Dingy. D3972084. Marty here at Buoy 109.”
Sometimes, he would let Jake come with him in the boat, but had left him behind today. He was glad he had done that, for he knew he might die upon this sea, and the dog along with him. He loved old Jake. He hoped someone would take good care of his old dog, if that should happen.
A coastal station had picked up the signal. It tried to respond but had gotten no answer. “This is Coastal Station NW78 returning your call. Are you receiving?” They kept the line open throughout the night, trying to reach the person of D3972084. It was registered to a Martian Downy, a local man. They had heard the number Buoy 109 and its resounding Burr sound across the air waves, throughout the long night.
First light had come, and a rescue boat was there. They’d zeroed in, locating the Buoy and finding the old man safe within the small boat. Now they lowered a raft down and staff motored over in it, helping him safely back to the larger one. They’d tow the little boat, knowing the old man might depend on it to make his living. Marty was safe…..and best of all—
LIFE WAS GOOD