Coral Beach This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Coral Beach is a yellow swale of sand knitted between a rocky landscape of harsh saltwater grasses and the creased blue ocean. It has been the haunt of many a white-winged seagull, and it is but a halfway place for stranded stars and spiny anemones washed up from the deep. Crabs scuttle sideways, their little claws leaving small indents in the ground, and little jagged stones are lined like rows of teeth along the water’s edge. The sky is a patchwork of clouds. Grey mist crawls from the sea up to the shore, where it spins in dizzying whorls, a complex waltz with the wind drawn from the distant blue mountains.

The foamy aqua marsh is frayed at the edges, as the tides encroach further and further up the shore. The surfaces of the obsidian rocks gleam, and little particles of translucent seaglass are embedded just beneath their salt-buffered corners. Rhododendron bushes, their flowers the color of raspberry sunsets, bloom in great abundance amongst the wetland.

Jagged cliffs shoot up in a sudden line but ten yards away from the water’s edge, confirming the beach’s isolation from the rest of the world. Little beach houses, painted sunny peach and burnt sienna red, perch precariously on the crags jutting out from the mountains at odd angles, supported by haphazard assortments of boards and stilts. Those houses have survived wild storms, blue lightning strikes, sheets of ferocious rain, and raging waves lunging up off the ocean, but throughout it all they linger, clinging to the edges of the peaked overhangs, their driftwood levees still intact.

Many a soul has wandered to this beach. The dewy sunsets serve as a backdrop for a romantic evening beneath the diamond stars just as well as the smooth rocks provide houses for the lost and the long, salty arms of seaweed masquerade as arms to hold the lonely on cold ocean nights.

I have seen cities filled with gleaming lights and silver skylines encrusted with gold. I have stood beneath neon lights. I have traveled to castles with towers that scrape the sky. I have stood beneath redwood trees with leaves of emerald, and I have ran through fields of fragrant wildflowers. I have looked across endless plains of glittering untouched white, and I have seen the aurora illuminate the sky. I have tasted the beauty of forest green and I have become enflamed with the electricity of a city night. I have dreamed of every beauty imaginable to the human eye—I have dreamed of colors beyond what the human eye will ever see.

But somehow, I return. I return to Coral Beach, if not in body, in mind and heart. The paradise blue of the waters captivates me. The smell of sunshine on my shoulders, the feel of a cool coquina clam undulating in my palm, bring the dashes of tears to my eyes. When I stand on the beach, my toes buried in the sand, a crab racing across my feet, hair covered in sea salt and dripping over my sun-kissed skin, gazing over the aquamarine infinity that is the endless sea—that is my glimpse of the beyond. I will always return to the beach. I may try to stray, but the beach is my homage, my flesh and blood, my oasis, my alien moon, my stratosphere. I will always return, somehow, to those glorious sunstained days, those magical nights when the sound of an acoustic guitar merged with the whisper of the sea, when I loved, when I escaped, when the whole world glittered and my heartsong spun the same melody that shimmered from the insides of a pink conch shell.

I’ll float into the night where the stars gleam, where the colors rage and the purple mist is all on the water. Time disappears and I’ll fall in love and cry sweet tears of someone with everything to lose, yet nothing to weigh me down. I’ll dance into a summer day. I’ll float into the ocean. I’ll drift away to there.





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