“If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?”
That’s the question for today’s Writing 101 Challenge, A Room with a View.
This is an easy one to answer: if I could be anywhere right this minute, it would be on an empty beach in Hawaii.
I start by wandering around for a while, letting the ocean water tickle my feet as it rushes forward in a soapy crush, and then recedes just as quickly, the perpetual tease of the tides. I’d allow my feet to sink into the water-logged sand as I walked, the softness cushioning my toes. Every so often the waves would play a joke, and while I was lulled into the complacency of ankle-deep cool water rushing over my feet, a stronger wave would push the water to my knees, catching the hem of my skirt, before dashing back into the sea.
Then I’ll climb up on the rocky natural jetties that break up the sandy areas, looking for shells the water deposits between the pebbles, or bits of tumbled coconut husks and driftwood. If my luck holds out, my eyes might spot a tiny sliver of blue or green sea glass, the ocean-polished bits of broken bottles that hold a special beauty. There might be a bit of seaweed, or the remains of fish, or other debris both natural and man-made. The randomness of what you can find on an empty Hawaiian beach holds a sort of magic all of its own.
After a while of strolling, scrutinizing the ground for tiny treasures I can slip into my tote bag, I retreat up the beach, just beyond the reach of the tide, and sit facing the waves. I watch them roll forth with great power, crashing against the shore, and then run back into the great water beyond. The rhythm calms me, makes me forget all about the passage of time, the demands of everyday life. Even though the sun is hot, the breeze from the ocean is refreshing, and I don’t feel the heat, nor do I pay much attention to my skin that is turning a bit pinker as the minutes slip by.
Overhead, there are different seabirds circling, scoping out their next meal, checking me out to ensure I pose no threat. In the distance I can see a small black object moving around in the water and I realize it’s a snorkeler or fisherman checking out a reef just beyond the waves.
And all around me tiny funnels begin to appear in the sand. As I sit there, still, without anyone else passing by, elusive sand crabs are emboldened and peek out of their tiny caves, perched at the mouth of the delicate funnel waiting for a meal to tumble into their lair. If they see me move towards them, they disappear in an instant.
I start digging my heels into the sand, letting the soft powder cover my feet, and drag my legs back and forth to make patterns in the sand. I watch the patterns the water makes as it slides across the sand, leaving an outline at the furthest reaches, and I marvel at the way the sun glints over the thin spread of water.
On another day, there might be kids on this beach, or women sunbathing, a man walking his dog, or couples playing frisbee. Today, though, I am alone, and the beach is all mine.