Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Night Ocean

[I wrote this last summer while on holiday at sea.]
Tonight, I took a walk. As I came to the boardwalk, leading to the ocean, I turned on my flashlight, because I was afraid. I kept walking. Upon passing over the dunes, I fanned the light around, and I saw beach chairs and umbrellas, and a tent, left there overnight. Closer to the ocean, crossing the high tide line, I glanced down, to see flash into the hole...something.

I looked around, and in the ground, I saw a dozen holes, right near me, each an inch wide. Looking down the beach, there were more, some only a few inches, one from another. Then, I nearly stepped on it, a sand crab. I took its picture, and then got down close, but it shot into its hole. I found many others, some would hold still, and I would photograph them, but often, I'd take the picture, look down, and the crab would be gone, but my camera got him. I was stepping carefully, afraid I'd step on one, they were all around.

Looking at the crabs, I imagined them running up to me, all around me, in a swarm, and cutting and poisoning me.

When I had taken about twenty pictures of them, I walked back across the high tide line, away from the ocean. I stood there, in the dry, loose sand, looking at the ocean and the dark, cloudy sky, listening to the waves crash. I had been afraid near the crabs, but when freed from that distraction, I was even more afraid, looking at the ocean and the sky and the dark. I was asphyxiated. I was small.

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