When I step onto the beach, early, as yesterday, I look at the sky over the Gulf and realize: yesterday is gone. I had imagined, somehow, out early again, I would be as stunned and moved and embraced in the blueness of yesterday’s sky. This morning’s sky was metal gray. Still, it was a lovely awakening, because I realized how special yesterday’s sky, yesterday’s beach, yesterday’s walk really was. It will never come again, in fact. And, with this, I set off into the gray morning, before the shell pickers. One man, out for a jog, ran past me, and we greeted each other. The sand dollars, unpicked, fresh, abundant. I reached the bridge, lost in reverie, gazing at the whispy, snow-like patterns of blown sand by the old trees. Then, half buried under the sand, I saw a tragic sight. Yesterday, a shore bird, I think it was a common loon, wintering here, was sitting upright, perfectly still, on the sand by the shore. I passed, it didn’t move. I was concerned. But its eyes were open and bright. I kept walking on, hoping it was fine. This morning, the loon was curled up, sanded, in the spot where I saw it yesterday. Heartbreaking. There were so many birds busy fishing and flying and strutting this morning, the ibis, the heron. I remember the eyes of the loon, not meeting mine. My helplessness.