Monday, June 29, 2009

Discovering the Beach

The ocean was a churning grey that afternoon. Around the dessicated remains of some trees, and the occasional pile of slimy brown kelp, wind blew tiny grains of soft sand into miniature hills and ripples. Dark grey water, pale grey sand, blotchy grey clouds, the edge of the land descended into monochrome nothingness.

Out in the water, small slick heads would emerge, then sink again, then re-emerge, looking around with curiosity. Chubby, stubby looking fins paddled slowly toward the shore, in the direction of one of the large pieces of wood.

The creature considered the item as it came closer. Could be food. Maybe not. A distant memory surfaced of a similar item, a large bone with meat still clinging to it that had proved quite tasty some seasons back. This larger item seemed worth checking out.

Slowly, cautiously, nervously, the creature let the waves carry it to the shallows. To the point where it's stubby extremities touched the sand. It let the next wave push it forward, until half of it's body was unsupported by water.

Strange feeling, heavy, it began to lose nerve and was attempting to turn, but the next wave was a big one, and shoved it further up the beach. The creature huddled there, waiting for the next wave to carry it off, which didn't happen. The waves were growing smaller, the ocean quieter, the water crept slowly away from the stranded animal.

Despite the discomfort of feeling so heavy and clumsy, the creature noticed how warm the sand felt underneath it. If nothing else, here was a break from the relentless chill of the water - a break only previously felt on the creatures back when it surfaced on sunny days. The feeling of warmth on the belly was quite enjoyable.

Still hoping to find food, it tried to swim up the sand, feebly inching it's way toward the bone. Alas, it was not a bone, but only one of the sticks that sometimes floated overhead toward the shore. Defeated and having a hard time breathing, the creature struggled around until it was headed back down toward the water, and began it's swim-wiggle toward where it could see the waves.

Halfway there, it stopped to rest. Smelling something interesting, it began mouthing a nearby rock, only to discover that it cracked easily, and was delicious inside!

Aha! This was one of the shells that were so hard to pry from the rocks - but here it was laying out in the open, washed ashore by the waves.

As the creature lumped its way to the waves at last, it considered it's luck in finding the shell. It would have to try that again sometime!

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