Tracks of Remembrance

A crab scuttles across the sand and leaves only small indents in it as a trail, an indecisively wavering line of perforations in the grainy expanse.
Those small tracks were the one thing that gave evidence that the crab existed at all. It continues scuttling, in the vague direction of a too-small hole.
It defeats physics and slides its body through the hole into the interminable labyrinth that awaits it under the ground. It seems too complicated, really; how many tunnels does a crab need?
A wave comes up as the oceans are pushed on from afar by the approach of the moon, water runs down the hole and brings sand down with it, and I wonder if crabs can breathe underwater.
It’s a cold day, much too cold to be sitting on the beach. I like it that way, though. Less people, less noise, fewer idiotic children running around unsupervised while their parents pretend to soak in sun under a tipped-down hat.
The grey clouds and scanty breeze that flicks sea foam at me occasionally are my protection from the sun, the light, the people, and existence, and the seagulls that still circle in the air, scanning for any prey they can easily grab, are my sole companions. They scream at the air and I scream with them.
My papers blow away. I had set my folding chair – not even a beach chair – on top of them in a vain attempt to keep them from the skies.
I sigh. If there was anything scrawled in cheap ink worth keeping on the pages, I will remember it. I debate deciding upon this as a legitimate filter for keeping what is worth keeping, decide against it, but don’t fully rule it out in my mind.
One of the pages gets caught somehow on the sand a few feet away. I don’t get up to get it, telling myself that I’ll get it when I leave.
That reminds me of something, and I pull a small notepad out of my pocket and slide a pen out of the metal spiral binding, tap it on the page for a moment, lick my lips, and write it down.
I put it all back in my pocket and find that I’ve sat up during that time, then sit back. I’m relaxing here. That’s it.
Another wave laps into the crab’s hole, then retreats.
Some people appear about two-hundred yards to my right, a couple and two children. I sigh and close my eyes. I can’t hear what they’re saying, thankfully, but I can imagine. Unsure of the weather. They had planned this day two weeks in advance, and didn’t want to let down the kids. I was suddenly all too aware of how such conversations played out, and I closed my eyes tighter, somehow thinking that would block out sound.
I guess the kids found out how ocean water feels, and jumped out and clung to their parents for warmth and sharing the wetness, because when I look up at them again, they’re packing up their towels and chairs and walking back up the sand towards the parking lot.
The wind is picking up. I’m glad I didn’t bring anything besides myself and my chair.
Oh, and those papers. But those are a lost cause aside from their lingering ideas, anyway.
The clouds are growing darker overhead. I smile as I realize what a good day this will be, after all. The seagulls have ceased their screaming and the crabs have all run to their holes.
I face the sky with my eyes closed and my mouth in an open grin as the clouds open up and cry. The earth wraps its arm around them in a comforting embrace, and the clouds let loose their full misery.
I soak up their sadness into myself and turn it into my own brand of happiness.
The rain drenches me and everything else, melding the sand back into one flat expanse, erasing all paths of the crabs, their writing upon the sand that is their only memoir. That page that had blown away into the sand is soaked as well, the ink running out off the page onto the ground and into the air.
Some hidden poetry in that moment strikes my attention and I pull out the small notebook and scribble some notes into it, the rain blurring them as soon as they are put down.
Soon I’ve progressed beyond that spot of wetness that is “soaked”, and I’m living in the water. My clothes have become so saturated with water that my body has become water-bound.
I stand up, fold up my chair, and look for a moment at the piece of paper that has sat so long that the fibers are disintegrating and becoming one with the ground beneath. Picking it up would serve no purpose to me and I decide to leave it there to become one with the earth once again.
I walk up the beach, making my own small tracks in the sand before I, myself, scuttle off into my own little hole.


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