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It's quiet here - quiet in a way that catches me off guard. The tranquility is almost tangible, something I can touch and hold and wrap around myself. I can hear the pulse of faraway waves, the faint hum of the wind, the nonsensical call of distant seagulls. I can hear my own heartbeat, pounding along with the waves.
As I kick off my sandals, my spirit steps out of my body, leaving behind the material baggage of city life. The sand is soggy beneath my feet and I know my footprints will disappear when the sea rises, as if I were never here at all.
It's low tide, that magical time when the sea recedes to reveal the ocean floor. Grooves of sand catch pockets of water that are half-buried mirrors, reflecting pale blue sky and slices of violet sunlight that glitter like chipped diamond.
a vocal seagull
descends toward liquid skies –
At low tide, a second beach emerges, stretching all the way across the bay to the opposite shore. I walk slowly, tasting salt on the breeze as it runs invisible fingers through my hair. Strands sweep across my face, catching in my eyelashes before fluttering free once more.
The beach is a dream catcher, snagging small treasures when the sea withdraws. And I am a child again, fascinated by the hermit crab retreating into his shell as I approach. I spot the dimpled surface of an urchin’s shell peeking out from wrinkled sand. Other shells are scattered across the beach, some upside down, exposing smooth, pearly souls.
a tiny starfish
drifts beneath placid water –
When I find a sand dollar, my breath catches. It’s perfectly whole, with smooth, rounded edges and clean, ivory skin. It’s heavy and light all at once, the flawless design at its center subtle and brilliant, like a delicate floral tattoo. How many hours had I spent here as a child, searching for this transitory coin?
My eyes fill with unexpected tears as my vision wavers behind distorted pools of grief. I’m half-blind until I blink, releasing salty rivers down my cheeks. Even then, my sight is murky.
My tears taste like the ocean and I think, suddenly: Whose tears fill the sea?
Written: November 4, 2015
For Charlotte's "Creative Haibuns" Contest
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