Car again. After two days of travel and 17 total hours of driving, I was tired, slightly disoriented, and a little nauseated. I jumped down and tried to shake off the vestiges of the journey. As I crooked into a concave shape to restore comfort to my lower back, I broadly yawned. I stretched back one leg at a time, and started to loosen up. We’d arrived with daylight to spare, and it was time to discover this new location. I just had to wake up a little more.
The air was humid and heavy, and the world seemed brighter after isolation within tinted windows. I heard a hushed but constant whoosh in the background. We progressed into a dim elevator which had trapped several mosquitoes. I followed them suspiciously with my eyes until the reflective door opened to a hallway. We entered the condo and I found my new room. Between the 2 twin beds, I couldn’t decide, but what did it matter? I could alternate between them if I really wanted to.
From the window in the living room, I could see swaying verdant plants, with broad leaves, long spikey fans, or tall wispy stalks, and then a flat but bumpy gray-cobalt surface which was always moving. This surface expanded long past where I could see, and into the horizon. As it disappeared from view, it darkened but never ceased its hypnotic motion.
When we went on walks, I saw rustling in the bushes, and crabs frantically scrambling into holes beneath broad thick brush. I was so curious, but was torn between wariness and discovery. It was so nice that Dad was at this new place, and we could spend time together. The newness seemed much easier with him here.
I knew there was something causing the constant whooshing, which almost sounded like a car driving by on the road. There was variety in the sound, but it was without the tones of a car’s approach or departure. The air tasted cleaner than at home. The salt smell was marked by a wetness that never dried; a clean rot and a slight rust. It took a few days, but we finally progressed past the edge of the wooden walkway which forged a path through the expanse of rustling plants. I stepped onto the shifting soft sand and felt it move under me as I re-balanced my weight. Immediately the pervasive salt and damp was cut by the tang of seaweed as the whooshing became louder and more regular.
We got closer to the water, and I was free to move around, but the water was moving too. I’d experienced this before, so I knew it could be fun, but the motion and changeability still disturbed me. The water approached and extended farther than I’d anticipated. It got me wet. This happened a few times, and then I wanted it to happen again. I became bold and suddenly the water crashed into my chest. But then it dragged me back into the wave and away from the sand. This scared me. Was this what the movement meant? Running around the sand and shallow surf was much more fun, for now.
The second time we went to the beach, I was still wary. But then, I saw it. I saw the white silhouette of a bird. A bird less than 20 feet away, standing in the sand near the moving water. I was free, and so I ran. I ran as fast as I could, but the bird saw me, spread its wings, bent its legs to push up, and was suddenly aloft. I could be faster. I knew I could catch it. I put on more speed as it swooped along the edge of the waves. I could hear my mommy screaming behind me, and didn’t really care. This was too good. The wind was rushing through my hair, and I felt like I was getting closer and closer. Then, the bird angled one wing towards the ground, and changed direction to swerve swiftly towards the hill of thick brush and plants which were much taller than and sat across from the moving water. My mommy ran faster and her voice became high pitched as she chased after me. I was so glad she was having fun too!!
The bird angled again and mommy seemed to calm down as I ran back towards her. She motioned for me to come, and called to me, but I wasn’t done. The bird flew towards the horizon and I ran with complete abandon straight into the water. A wave hit me full in the face, and I was only deterred a little. Mommy caught up with me and pulled me back to the sand. Her short pants were wet at the bottom and her gibberish words seemed annoyed. Sometimes I wish I spoke English. I wonder if she thinks that too.
I resisted a little – the bird was getting away – but mommy put my leash back on and was adamant in our retreat. Going back over the wooden path meant getting hosed down, then a horrible wet experience in the bathtub as sand was methodically washed out of every crevice (I don’t understand the big deal with sand, by the way). Even though freedom meant a bath, I was excited. This new place was going to be alright. I hope mommy lets me do that again.
– Your huckleberry