I usually don’t notice them. Spring has suddenly returned, though, and I hear them everywhere. Shore birds populate the trees and dunes behind me, the occasional gull swoops past, and a pair of cormorants bob peacefully in the channel.

Small waves lap gently at the shore while the river gurgles past the jetties. I have lived all my life virtually within sight of the ocean, yet I fail to appreciate it. I’m a mountain person; my solace is found in trails and trees.

Yet here this morning with the sun on my face and the breeze at my back, with the smell of salt in the air, facing the limitless expanse of the mighty Atlantic, I can steal a few moments of peace.

Salisbury Beach
Salisbury Beach by Mack505 on Flickr



I’ve written before of my first experience with critical incident stress. Tonight I had occasion to attend another debriefing. I felt pretty good going in. I knew we’d had an awful call, but I was still feeling OK. I feel I have a good support system. I rode the emotional roller coaster, learned a few things, had other things affirmed, and gained some insight into how the other side works.

The debriefing was a good experience, but I could still do without the triggering event.

It’s a beautiful night. Today was sunny and 82 degrees. As I was leaving the hospital, one of our units pulled up beside me in traffic. The sound of the Diesel, the warm night air, George hanging his bare arm out the driver’s window. Suddenly I wanted to be up there, in that seat. These are my people. We take care of each other as much as the city.

Summer nights have a magic in the city, and we are nocturnal. I’m in the middle of 4 days off, and suddenly all I wanted was to be back in that truck.

The light went green and they drove away before I could shout a hello. I’m sure the city will survive a few more days without me. I’m off to enjoy the night air and try my hand at photographing stars.