I went to the beach this morning. I went to the beach in bare feet. Crossed the street from my hotel to the beach. Stepped onto the hard pavement. Took jarring steps down to the corner, across the warm asphalt. Stepped onto the rough curb. Walked through the prickly parking lot with its tiny stones that poke your heels. And stepped into the warm sand of the beach.
I wriggled my toes, grains sneaking into the crevices. Warm grains from the top of the beach, hot from basking in the rising sun. Cold grains from below, hiding in the damp darkness of the beach’s underlayer. Temperatures and textures mingling around my digits, coaxing me into feeling again.
I stepped. I walked. Each pace a new sensation of rough and smooth, grains of sand, grains of warm, grains of cold. Advancing towards the water. I picked my way through the seaweed line at the edge of the last tide’s waves. Rushing through little swarms of tiny flitting bugs. Aiming to avoid mushy green splurting between my toes. Across the washed-up branches. And onto the cold, wet, smooth spance of sand. The sand that sinks under your heels and leans you backwards as if saying, “stay, sit, do not go, be one with us, be another grain, a piece of the wide expanse, a tiny morsel of the world.”
And down, down the sight slant towards the water. I stood there. Quietly. My long dress bunched into my hands just above my knees. The sun warming my calves, my shoulders and my face. I stood. I watched.
The waves cresting, peaking, rolling over themselves into tubes, tunnels, caresses. Silky smooth panels crashing into frothy, bubbly white. Running onto the beach. Rushing forwards, up the slant, onto the dark cool sand.
I stood. I listened. Roars as the waves built, rushing up, cresting into screams, dying down into licks, falling back as whispers. Birds overhead, birds in the distance. Birds peeping quick, high-pitched little cheeps. Birds honking, loud, long snaps. Swooping, diving, floating. Riding the swells far out on the sea, far from the beach, beyond the sand to which I clung tight.
I stood. The waves rose and fell. Cresting with anger, receding in resignation.
I stood. Wave edges lapping in front of me. Coming. Going. Coming. Going. This one near. This one far.
I stood. Large waves roaring down the beach. Splashing against the sand. Edging closer. Coming. Coming towards me. Rushing around my legs, froth nipping at my knees, swirling past me and back out to sea, sand scurrying out from under my feet.
I stood in the ocean. Rough, beautiful, powerful, peaceful cold ocean.
And without moving, I stood again on the beach.