A Fort Fight

Early morning. Sunny. A jetty beach. RVs sandwiched together. Denizens of the RVs outside for wake-up vapes. A pony-tailed man performs yoga in the sand. Fishermen gearing up to not catch fish. An agate hound hunts for treasures. Dogs dumping here and there.

Lots going on. I much prefer beaches with nothing going on except the ocean. But this one has to suffice because I need a walk on the beach this morning to contemplate a decision to quit a relatively new job. It was working out well enough and then abruptly, it wasn’t. A poet once said, “Sometimes the truth depends upon a walk around a lake.” (Wallace Stevens I think.) I have always amended that statement to read, “Sometimes the truth depends upon a walk along the ocean.”

I climb down some crumbling riprap and hit the beach. I inspect a couple of primo forts and head south. In the distance I see two people, a man and a woman inside a combo corral-tepee fort.

Odd, you don’t see that very often. In fact, I’ve seen it exactly twice in my fort-building life.

My path will take me past the fort by some 40 yards. I decide to stay the course and perhaps glean some information on the fort couple.

I watch them as I approach. They appear vaguely transient and/or meth-riddled. The tide is coming in fast. It almost washes over my sneakers. I’m not paying attention to the ocean.

They are arguing, well, really fighting. As I move closer, I hear screaming (from the woman), but can’t make out the words.

She sits on a log, then she gets up and gets in the man’s face. She’s yelling at him. She’s gesticulating wildly. He’s resigned and looks sad and hurt in the face. He responds, barely.

I keep walking. The couple keep going at it.

The juxtaposition of a heated argument inside a peaceful driftwood fort unnerves me. It is so unprecedented that I don’t know what to make of it.

I walk past them. They pay me no mind. The woman has moved away from the man and plopped down on the sand, quiet for the moment, staring at the ocean.