Life’s a beach


Sticks, logs, salted beams, tiny shells, great clumps of seaweed: people, places, events. Storm-whipped breakers and ragged gusts in place of time and chance – apt.
Dark mounds strewn down the years, the sandy strip at dawn stretched out, as if to walk it until dusk; else cut down at midday, gulls’ pickings.
A black shape flashes by, takes my breath: seaweed. Then the beach lifts whole, is hurled, blasting all. Collar to the storm I edge ahead, eyes clenched, searching the biting, thrusting world.
A whale!
Dark, deep flesh, singular, silent. Beset by a galaxy of grains.
One eye to the sky, one to the sandy grave, gravity has wrenched it from the waves, cast up, laid low, headlong, side-on.
Alone I cannot save it. Only wait for the sea. Pray.


Majesty of midges

I was sitting in the bathroom when I noticed a tiny speck hovering nearby. It appeared alive, but it was so small I could hardly tell if it was a tiny fly or a spider hanging from the ceiling. It was in fact a fly. An impulse to clap it between my hands flashed in my mind, then passed. If it had been a mosquito probably I would have. I have been known to spare mosquitos in philosophical moments, but not often. Then it occured to me – imagine if human beings were the only living creatures known. If we were surrounded only by inanimate natural and manmade objects. How precious would that tiny hovering creature be! I would be overwhelmed by a desire to catch it, then horrified that I might hurt it. It would infinitely surpass the most sophisticated manmade object – and indeed it did. This tiny being that I might destroy by a whim. How unthinkably marvelous and majestic is our world, and all its creatures!