Waves wash all sorts of oddities onto the beach. Look close enough and you’re sure to find something buried beneath the sand. Once I thought I saw a magnificent blood red, sedimentary rock, but it merely was a metal spike surrounded by concrete tainted by algae. I tossed it into the water, and continued on my walk along the beach.
It was a two sided beach; a lagoon on one side, and the ocean on the other. A road was the line dividing the two. People parked in the gravel on the side of the road, bringing their children and camping chairs to watch the waves come crashing in. But this wasn’t a pretty beach. The sand was storm-cloud grey. Seaweed that washed onto the shore were nests for flies.
One day when the haze rolled in from the top of the hills, blurring the division of sky and ocean, I came across a bottle nosed dolphin on the beach. It looked like a deflated beach ball, and was tangled in seaweed.
On the lagoon side, there was no beach. The water touched jagged rocks, pebbles, broken scallop shells brought up by the crows. The water was thick with green algae. Snails and barnacles clung to abandoned scallop and oyster shells, they clung to the rocks too. But as the tide softened, the barnacles and snails turned to stone. Sometimes I found these shells on the beach side, and wonder how they arrived.
The abundance of tree trunks washed onto the beach is fascinating. Why are they here? Where did they come from? What kind of tree is it? How long of a life did that tree have? These were questions I asked when I first saw them propped up on each other as if on purpose.
To the common observer, it is impossible to distinguish the types of trees on the beach or how many winters they withstood before being taken by the ocean. Their barks were bleached by the sun, or torn apart by crashing against cliff sides. Some were filled with holes, which were once the homes to critters of the sea.
One morning, I found something, which the ocean did not give to the beach. A flower, baby blue in colour, and drops of rain water clinging to the petals. It was the only flower in bloom, and was the only thing that was not a shade of grey.