The Beach

A cool breeze whispered across the beach, stirring up swirls of sand which it carried for a few feet before they dispersed into nothing. The breeze carried in it the scent of salt that always rests in ocean air. It rustled the few slim bushes that grew further up the shore. Carried on the breeze were voices that could be heard only on the edge of imagination. They spoke of adventure and romance, of triumph and tragedy. In a whisper, they told of all those who have lived their lives by the ocean.

The waves caressed the soft sand along the water’s edge – each wave reforming the shore, so that it would never be exactly the same again. Each crest and whirl broke down a dune while forming another a few feet away. The ever changing landscape had been visited by many over the years. Some came only once for a brief hour while others passed years of their life sitting on that shore. Every visit to the water’s edge marked another chapter of the changes that took place along that beach.

Across the water the horizon glowed red and gold as the sun finished its descent. Rays of light shot upward and dyed the clouds into a majestic patchwork of color fitting for a royal robe. The clouds wandered across the sky as light gave way to dusk and darkness.

The last rays of the sun fell across the rocking chair which sat partway up the beach. The chair was roughly hewn and simple, its dark wood standing in contrast of the pale sand beneath. The surface of the chair was rough and splintered from the elements. It dug a little into the sand on the right side giving the chair a lopsided appearance. It was not simply the presence of the chair but something more, something inexplicable, which seemed to say that there was a great story behind it. There were many memories etched into the wood of that rocking chair that could not be read by human eyes.

A single pair of footprints passed just in front of the chair as it sat on the beach. Micro-swirls of sand danced and leapt across the low depressions before vanishing like smoke. The prints came from far down the beach and passed beyond sight into the distance. The tread of the prints was heavy as though the feet that made them had carried a great weight. There was no branching from the path that they followed, no sign that the figure that had made them had ever turned left or right, even for a moment, except for one.

As the path crossed in front of the chair, the prints halted. Whoever walked by that spot had stopped and turned toward the chair. There was no way of knowing if the traveler had halted for a second or an hour or even a lifetime. There was no indication of what had gone through his mind or hers. All that could be known was that whoever it was paused from the journey to stand and examine the chair. After that pause by the rocking chair, the prints again resumed their path and were lost in the distance.

And as the final light of the sun disappeared below the horizon, the rocking chair continued to sit and face out over wide ocean before it. A lone seagull passed overhead and let out a cry that echoed over the beach. One could almost imagine that the cry continued through space and time into the unknown reaches that we travel in our dreams. The seagull, just as the mysterious traveler who had left the prints, continued on down the beach and was lost from sight. And as night fell, the waves continued to reshape the shore, and the breeze continued to whisper the stories of all those who had passed this way.


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