Jeordie sat straddling his board, bare feet bathing in the underlaying warmth of the current. Though it wasn’t as warm as it used to be, a cooling of the heatwaves. And looking south down the coastline he saw three of them appear as cormorants on the thin black lip of horizon. But they were too fast to be birds, then flashing overhead, silent.
It was seven years ago when he was working in the lab in the garage of the house he was renting and shared with three others. Jeordie was one of the first to notice the changes in acidity. On the beach it was the feel of the sand between his toes and hiding in the shadowy dissection of the frothy breakwater. The sense of new origins, going back to a beginning, the return to a past epoch.
When he was on the water it was a vibration in his board, the spirit and interval of the waves, the timing of the sets, their unwavering perfection. He could see it in the faces of the fishermen too. Casting from the shore or powering by in their fishing boats. Eyes wide open. Professionals tracking the variations, the ebb and flow, the eddies, and noting where the murre, puffin and oystercatcher would congregate.
They must have been here for decades, this was Jeordie’s theory. Waiting for the right time to reveal themselves. He had other theories too. It was part of Jeordie’s work to understand the implications for the marine environment. The reestablishment of leached and damaged coral, the explosion of the fish population. To model and scale the variations no matter how insignificant on the surface. It’s the incremental changes over time that can change things forever. For good or for bad. He would take his readings and compute his forecasts all the time sensing that something other worldly was happening. Knowing to his core that things were not always as they seemed. A millennium of change in seven years.
Jeordie coveted the surf in the waking hours. The peace and tranquility of the dawn. He could think in the quiet hours when the rest of the world was still sleeping. Paddling out with the nose of the board seeking where the sea touched the sky, the simple dawn peaking over the shoulders of the snow tipped mountains behind him. That’s why he noticed. The solitude creating the space to think clearly, unincumbered. Comfortable on the deck, he tracked the sets. The timing was perfect from hour to hour and day to day. It never changed, it never varied.
As the early light crept forward other early birds gathered at the end of the sixteen-hundred-foot-long pier. The morning crowds were growing, the curious, the fearful. Each day more and more. They came to observe, coming for the spectacle of mercurial fish runs glistening with the aubade of morning sun and lift of onshore breezes. They came to observe the stillness, the sameness, and this bothered Jeordie. He liked to be alone, he liked it before the changes, but he understood the attraction. But did they understand what they were seeing?
With the tide filling in, Jeordie decided on the third wave of the next set and rode it all the way into the beach, wading through the slosh and plodding his way up the thick sand as it absorbed the slow warmth of the morning rays, and to the line of drying driftwood and flotsam. He wrapped an arm around the board, leaning against the rail, facing the sea with the sunrise affecting the reflective fractals of blue and grey.
He stood there on the beach and watched. This morning beneath the deepening azure they appeared opaque, a metallic witchery beneath the penumbra. Flying in the formations of three the team now called triads.
Jeordie watched, mesmerized. Why show themselves now, after all these years, why now?
To be continued…