God lives here; the setting sun knows it, as it lowers itself slowly into the sea, an orb of gold, shimmering with the memory of the treasures of my day, taking its last bow, closing the curtains on the dark thunder-clouds of what might have been, bringing peace to ten thousand miles of ocean, turning its color from teal to steel, dressing each wave’s white horse mane with a glistening silver tip, as they ride their black arches in toward the shore with a power and certainty I wish I knew.
A brotherhood of gulls rises from the shore, pushing off from the wet sand; their footprint hieroglyphs tell me everything, then not, as a sliding pool of clear seawater gently washes over them, dissolving their messages. They travel east on the last of the breeze, just above the breaking waves, paralleling the shoreline, silhouetting themselves against the last glimmers of sun, creating a thousand glorious photographs not taken, for I am alone on the beach with my dog. Gulls streak by not noticing either of us, their focused-eye determination unwavering in their acrobatic flight home, to where I know not.
The tide is coming in bringing with it the cool of evening, its waves washing gently over old pebble stones of grey that are never dirty and always clean, leaving them surrounded like momentary moated castles til the next wave baptizes them again like they were perpetual sinners. The dog sees something that demands her immediate attention. She dashes consumed by possibility, mightily galloping across the sand full of fun and excitement, chasing scurrying little chick-birds feasting at the water’s edge. They rush away in unison like hunter-gatherer washer-women who rise up together as one, flying frantically to find the last moments of the setting sun, still warming the dampened sand.
We turn toward home; the evening readies itself to descend, a chill in the air hastens itself around the dog and me. I know God lives here on the beach in Ventura and I must leave him now. It’s his secret but it’s safe with me.
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