touching gray

i saw several waterspouts in my time at sea, at least a dozen, maybe more. The one i wrote about here was when i was as officer of the deck (OOD) on the USS LUCE (DLG 7). The beginning occurred about a half hour into my watch off the port bow, and as i mention, about two leagues away, or about half way to the horizon (Luce’s horizon was roughly seven miles from the bridge) in the Navy Operation Areas (OP AREAS) a couple hundred miles off the Virginia Coast. It was on the first dog watch before i was relieved for the evening mess…and yes, it was eerily beautiful.

first dog watch
gray day at sea
gray sky
gray sea
gray horizon
gray ship
different hues of gray
beauty not expected
the calm before the storm
to the horizon
where the earth
disappears to nothingness;
‘bout two leagues from
that horizon
a disturbance begins
in the nimbostratus clouds
a small nodule nudges its way
beneath a long swath
of cloud, darker
continuing to extend
toward the sea,
extending more
it appears as a funnel;
then another node forms
directly beneath
on the black-gray surface of the sea
extending upward;
the nodule from the sea
grows upward into a small funnel;
as the two move and sway
now more like fingers
narrow, scrawny fingers
growing upward and downward
reaching, reaching
until they touch:
a water spout
strangely beautiful:
the sea and the sky
touching each other.

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