She sat. The damp sand remained firm beneath her weight, supporting her. Amazing to think, when it dried, it would just as soon blow away in the wind … this fleeting support. Pebbles, smoothed by eternal grinding from the ebb and flow of the water, scattered sparsely around her. A sense of solidness as she sat in the glow of burnt orange, at one of those points in life where decisions made now would shape the future.
She had been coming here since she was big enough to manage the roughly hewn stone steps. Strong memories of short, spindly legs having to take careful giant steps to get to the bottom flashed through her mind. This bay was quite the most exquisite she knew. Its perfect horseshoe shape, on two sides the sand giving way to gray stone and pale brown earth banks, topped by the green of coarse grass waiting to be explored. Leveling off into the necessary parking spaces and steps on the third. And, best of all, never too many visitors. Locals and tourists alike seemed to dislike the steep descent down to the beach.
If she waited long enough she knew they would come. Picking up a couple of pebbles—one, a gray with black flecks, momentarily bringing her dotty Dalmatian to mind; the other a deep red, colors accentuated by the water—she put them in her upturned hands. Looking out to sea she immersed herself in her surroundings.
Salt spray on face, mixing with damp smell of sea grasses that always seemed to pervade the beach. Coldness of pebbles on hands. Coolness in the air creeping over her skin, while the sky took on orange hues as the heat of the day lowered further toward the horizon. Swooshing of beach gravel being pulled back to sea followed by the gentle crashing of waves coming to tickle her feet. Her breathing mimicked the ebb and flow. She felt at one with her world down here.
If she waited long enough she knew they would come. Then the decision would be made. Powder gray wings and black velvety heads, both on strikingly yellow legs marched by, scavenging for the last scraps of food before heading to the cliff. Still, she looked out to sea. The pebbles had warmed up from the body heat in her hands.
She sensed them before she saw them. Not sure at first, eyes straining to be sure, but yes—the unmistakable shape of a fin, then another and another. They had come, as she knew they would. As she watched they began their familiar dances, bottlenoses coming right out of the water, backs bowing, glistening in the last of the day’s orange glow, sleek and elegant, and bringing with them, as always, an amazing energy.
They were too far out for her to swim with, but close enough for her to be able to see them and enjoy their play. As their tails briefly flipped up they seemed to wave a promise that all would be well. Rolling up her trouser legs, she walked along the water’s edge, water benevolently lapping over her feet, sand squidging between her toes as she sought connection with mother earth. Someone had once said to her, “You don’t need to touch one to be touched by one.” How right they were. This is what she’d come for. This was always the best time for complete clarity, something she constantly strove for after climbing the stone steps, yet for some reason never quite achieved in the same way.
It was getting harder to see; the regular silvery disc that controls the tides bringing a luminescence to the now purple blue sky. Its sparkly reflection gently undulating with the swell of the water. A full circle, halfway through its monthly cycle—a good time to make a decision. Then would follow the waning days for her to act. This year it had been so hot; the evenings, turning cooler didn’t become cold. As it became too dark to see the fins and the white froths in the water as they played she realized she knew what she had to do.
It had been quite simple, really. The agonizing that went on was quite unnecessary—all she had to do was come down here and get in touch with her inner soul. The answers were always already there. It was just that mostly she wasn’t ready to listen. Now she had heard.
She turned and began a reverent walk back toward the stone steps, noticing the point where the chilly damp sand changed into the still warm dry grains that slipped between her toes and stuck to her wet feet. Reaching the bottom of the steps, she brushed her feet and put her sandals back on. Confident now with what she needed to do next, she began the ascent back to her world.