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Ocean times three

The sand is still cool under my feet as I climb, slipping away as I try to reach the top. I’m struggling past dustygreen sharpleaved dune grass, growing in patches all over. The sun is starting to get strong and its warmth on my sleep-chilled body makes me feel alive and present. Everything is quiet around me, only my breath disturbs the salty morning silence, but as I crest the dune, the crash of the crumbling waves hits my ears and the wind my face. Standing on this mountain of sand, facing the Atlantic, all I can see for miles around are endless waves of white and blue.


Wisps of fog drift like ghosts between the dead bodies of giant trees, washed ashore this pebbly beach. The still, wet air dampens all sounds: the slow, steady, gravelly swelling and rattling retreat of the flat grey waves that rise out of the smooth grey water and the occasional forlorn cry of a seagull. The trees look petrified, bleached to a whiteish grey, broken, splintered, bent, tumbled together, immobilized in their death. As I climb carefully over their fallen majesty to reach the edge of the Pacific, a fine mist settles on my skin and hair. The whole world is made up of stone and wood and water. I am the only one alive today.


The waves come rolling into the bay in long foaming lines, crashing on the rock that’s reaching out from below the surface in the middle of it, the spray glittering in high circles against the red sky. A golden path leads from outside the bay across the Indian Ocean to the sun on the horizon, but in here the water is blue, green, white, dancing onto the beach in playful licks. The last surfers are coming in, swinging in and out of the folds and dips of the water, balancing their boards before the crest, jumping off when they get close to the white sand. They bend down, pick up their boards and carry them across the sand to their cars parked on the dusty little road leading here. Beer cans are opened, faces turn towards the sun, which is now starting to set in a glory of gold, red and orange. The smooth brown rocks that protrude between the grass and the low gorze bushes above the sand are still warm and the distant laughter of the young people is the melody to the steady beating rhythm of the ocean.