Monday, July 10, 2006

ELEANOR: A Study, No. 37

Indigo spelled the color of the ocean on the day that Eleanor visited the seashore. Shells, both intact specimens and broken fragments, littered the long desolate beach. It looked like some inconsiderate Neptune had spread refuse along the shoreline, and the trail of seashells continued irregularly for as far as the eye could see.
One of the things that made beaches interesting was their startling display of death in many forms. It was like visiting some kind of post-aquatic cemetery; you could hardly take holiday at the beach without crossing paths with a few reminders of mortality. Just like anywhere else, death on the beach attracted the curious: scavenger crabs with simple motivations, beachcombers unaware of their own subtle horror.
Eleanor came to this beach simply desiring to be alone. It had never been a popular or crowded beach, just a rocky shore with a harsh tide and perpetually gray water. Occasionally a white-and-rust-colored fishing boat could be seen several miles out at sea, barely more than an abstract shape on the horizon.
The air was cold, and the smell of seaweed and salt surprisingly faint. With a clarity known only to lonely places, the sound of waves and rustling reeds scattered on the ridge behind her intertwined as Eleanor walked along the shoreline. She paused, and wind sneaked up her long black dress as she hiked the hemline past her knees.
When she reached the outermost edge of the tide’s ebb and flow, she gingerly stepped inside the irregular boundary of cobwebbed bubbles that the sea had left behind. As each wave broke, farther from the shore than Eleanor dared to go, it sent shimmies of seawater barely an inch deep skimming across the glossy and unbroken sand.
Seawater painted her feet, and she could feel hurried grains flowing beneath her toes as she left quickly disappearing footprints behind her. The water numbed her feet and sent shivers up her limbs, but Eleanor paid the dreadfully cold ocean little mind. Caution quietly demanded tribute, bringing to mind the quicksands known to vanish and emerge at the tide’s whimsy, but she ignored its insistence.
Stopping to watch the endless gray-white breakers, Eleanor felt the spray strike her face and felt conflicted. She could start walking until the undertow dragged her out to sea, she thought. Her black dress would wash away, and eventually her pale form would turn to ivory coral, winking white at sailors from underneath darker waves. Or she could go back to her car.
This seashore offered nothing but solitude. Eleanor saw the ocean as a frustrated entity, making insubstantial attempts to overtake solid ground, weeping shell fragments and kelp. Her empathy with its dilemma ran deep, for she was filled with the same need, both motivated and defined by desire and failure. When Eleanor came to the seashore, she had intended to surrender herself into its waves.
She watched her last footprint erode, a vague indentation rapidly filling with water. All the other footprints Eleanor had left behind her were gone. Were she to dive into the sea, her body would perhaps be found, but no one would be able to identify the exact point where she had left the sandy shore. Even though her footprints disappeared, for a moment, they remained.
She found this thought comforting. No one escaped this earth without making some momentary impact, without creating some mark on the blank map of existence, and Eleanor desired nothing more than to leave evidence of her passing and presence, no matter how transient or fleeting.
Scrawny wildflowers on the ridge trembled in the wind behind her. Their roots were shallow, and it was doubtful that many would survive further into fall. A queerly-shaped piece of driftwood rasped against the sand as it drifted onto the beach, rejected by the ocean. A high tern marked the lonely sky.
Within a half hour, the seashore was empty, its stillness unmarred by any human figure.


The Clown, I’m not sure how to use titles with blogger. Also, a lot of the pieces I post on here don’t have titles. When they do, though, I just title them with a line of capitalized text.


Blogger The Clown said...

I've gone through many of your posts now and I'd like to link back to you. If you'd visited my blog, you would find that I use a small quote to go with the links to my favorite blogs, which are a few lines from that person's blog.... I can't do that without your permission.... I'd be waiting for that. Smile.

7:08 PM  

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