Wednesday, July 08, 2009

828. Sand

On the bay right outside my window, the breeze rolls small, silver-crested waves in and out as dark green oak tree leaves dance above. I'm fulfilling a tiny, lifelong dream this week: to see a body of water as soon as I open my eyes in the morning (There's a busy road in between me and the bay, but that only makes it more real.) The shapes of the grey waves make me think of the bumps and folds of my brain, now feeling smoother and much less turbulent than usual.

Yesterday we went on a tour of the Cape Cod sand dunes, which I never before knew existed. A dense forest covered this spot long ago, well before the European settlers arrived. The topsoil eroded over the years, leaving the fine sand that formed after the Ice Age; when tides threatened to wash away the sand, the Army Corps of Engineers came in and seeded the entire shoreline with grass to prevent further erosion. But the dunes continue to ebb and flow, and our guide wasn't convinced that the grass was a good idea—since it is, in a way, as forced as any other less organic, man-made intervention that prevents nature from taking its course.

In a big Chevy van, eight of us tumbled at alarmingly high speed over an unexpected, undulating landscape somewhere between a desert, the moon, and mountains of Shangri-La. I felt like I was on a different planet. It was more fun than a roller coaster, and we could have used Dramamine. We landed at the top of a big hill and saw a sliver of ocean surrounded by wide, rising swaths of tan and green. A grey wooden house that looked like an Edward Gorey drawing sat under distant pastel sky, one of the many artist shacks that pass on to new owners only after death or lottery.

I stuck my toes in the sand and said a Sheheheyanu as I looked out to the sea and tried to imagine what was on the other side.

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