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500 Words: One Moment, This Year


Cold ocean stabs at my toes. Its chilly fingers pinching at my ankles, creeping up my goosepimpled skin.I pause to savour the sensation, accepting its intrusion.I admire the ocean’s beauty as it stretches before me. I am in awe of its vastness.I wriggle my toes into the gritty, sandy bottom, trying to anchor myself. I smirk as the incoming waves hit the fronts of my legs. I am part of their game. I’m not far enough out yet to be toppled. But the shallow surf continues, unrelenting. It lures me forward as it pounds.I shuffle and sway like an old drunk. The call of the sea is intoxicating.Fixing my eyes on a point further out, I struggle to pull up one foot, then the other from the sinking sand. The gloopy suck of the ocean quicksand is masked by the screeching of seagulls overhead and the human sounds of summer carried on the breeze.I twist at the waist as I lunge forward, against the waves, taking sharp, short breaths as the water gets colder and deeper and the more sensitive parts of my body are tickled by the frothing foamy whitecaps. The heat of my upper half now craves the coolness enjoyed by my lower half. With each beat of my heart, the flush of cold/hot, hot/cold surges through my being, up then down.I lumber forward. More exaggerated steps and the sandy bed falls away. Abandoning me. Releasing me from its stability and its surety.The water is deep and I paddle like an excited puppy, my head still warm and dry as I enjoy the heat of the sun on my face and the cold of the sea on my body.I am weightless. I am powerful. I am perfect.I propel myself up, then out and down, performing an exaggerated duck-dive to finally submerge myself. A full-body immersion. A believer’s baptism. A surrender to the omnipotence of the sea.I kick and bob and splash, over and over, mimicking a precocious seal or perhaps a cheeky dolphin or an engaging baby whale. I giggle to myself. I am at peace.At last, exhausted, I rise to the surface to gulp the salty air and shake the briny ocean from my limp curls.My limbs are leaden and my lungs are heaving. I blow salty mucous from my nostrils and spit out the sea.Now, arms outstretched, legs straight, my body floats on the surface, forming a perfect ‘T’.In the ocean’s lap, my head nestles.And with eyes closed, I worship the sun god above.The strong sea buoys me, lapping at my soul. Rhythmic, hypnotic, mesmerising.In this moment, on the turning tide, stress ebbs away from my body.And into its place flows the sensation of calm.


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