May 22, 2020
To Walk the Sea by Sally Piper
A bouquet of white flowers in bloomSource: White Flowers | Penelope Peru Photography
There is a long winding footpath that leads down to the beach. You enter it first as it runs alongside a golf course: neat green lawns and ordered flags, people strolling around in their nice white clothes pushing tidy trolleys. Notice the contrast with the pathway, the overgrown trailing trees that form a canopy over your head; mud on the soles of your shoes, or specks of dried dirt when it hasn’t rained for a while. The trees and bushes here have been chopped back steadily over the years so the golf course could grow, and you feel the sweet nostalgic melancholy that lives in the air.
As you get deeper into the path, it grows narrower, but not so as to cause claustrophobia. Instead, the trees curl gently over your head, laden with white blossoms that sing their perfume into a warm mist in the air. Maybe you stop to smell the blooms and notice a couple of bumblebees hopping from petal to petal. Or perhaps the only bees you see are the ones that are already dead on the path, still and silent, never to buzz again. Pesticides and chemicals stick to their wings and weigh them down, and then feet will stomp right over them as they lie in the dirt. But you want to help these bees as best you can, and so you lift them off the floor carefully, holding their little bodies in the palm of your hand and wishing things were different.
But you cannot linger for too long. The path winds down towards the beach, and the shouts of golfers fade away as you follow it down to the sea. Robins and sparrows flit about in the bushes on either side so you don’t feel so alone, and occasionally one will pause and turn and seem to look right into your eyes.
Eventually you make it down to the sea, marveling in its sudden blueness and the huge expanse of it. But somehow, your favorite part of the walk was the narrow pathway with the white blossoms. And you wonder whether it will always be there, waiting for you.
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