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  • Writer's pictureWesley Snedeker


“...I saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea”

(Daniel 7:2)

My toes grip the sand. Shells and driftwood prick the soles of my feet.

The air, thick with salt and grime fills my nose and stings my eyes. Through the blinding sun in the dreary sky I gaze down the seaweed-strewn shore. Reeds and spurs litter the dunes to the east, endless ocean stretches to the west. Wilderness, unruly and stark, owns the wastes in between.

Not far off there sits a woman. She is older than me, though not by much, and since we are alone I call to her. She beckons me over. I join her in the weed and the wood and the discarded fish which the sea has forgotten. Her eyes are old but her spirit, which restlessly tugs at her skin and hair, is much younger. It tries to get up and run, or at least to do anything, but her eyes are locked in the choppy gulf.

I don’t know what to say to her so I don’t say anything, and my silence affords me a moment to feel the tide pull at my toes. I glance upwards and see a foreign shape—a wave that builds and builds and refuses to break, which looms threateningly above this woman whose body and soul are in such harsh contradiction. She inches closer to me and whispers something in a language I don’t understand, but I know she’s talking about the wave so I put my arm around her.

As my fingers rest on her shoulder, the wet sand of which it is composed clumps off and lands heavily on the ground. I recoil in shock. She looks at me worriedly, not out of desperation but rather concern. I awkwardly place my hand behind hers instead and hope she still feels comforted. It is then that I notice she has no feet. Thick calves taper to naked ankles, which fan outward where her feet would be and root her firmly to the beach. I search for something to say, but still can’t find the words and I scan around for a visual distraction, but her eyes meet mine again. I offer her some attempt at an apology for nothing in particular. She disregards my insecurity. She has bigger problems. Her wave continues to build.

Stray grains of powdery white blow off her cheekbones and forehead. She turns to face me and wide cracks spider through her neck and chin. Her sandy lips part and she says my name. Before I can ask where she heard it, what once was her body collapses into the shore, and I am stricken by an illusion of being utterly alone. I stare wordless into the still rising mass of water before me.

White caps break its surface.

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