Spirit of the Sea This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 20, 2012
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The bottoms of her feet burned with an itchy pain as she took the first few steps onto the sun-baked sand. She hadn’t brought shoes, so she quickened her pace across the hot beach and stretched her arms out from her sides for balance as steps were replaced with ungraceful, hurried skips.

The moist sand of the shoreline was welcoming; the girl fidgeted her feet to burrow them into the sand as the coolness soothed the irritable burns. The sun had placed itself high into the sky behind her, allowing for a beautiful view of the ocean in front. Its familiar surface was unsteady and carried the sun’s reflected light. The ripples danced with the rays and were unable to shake them off their backs.

The girl sighed and settled herself down on the shore. Feelings of contentedness filler her, derived from the pleasantries of her surroundings. The sun warmed her body and relaxed her muscles, but the salty, cool breeze kept her from lethargy. She brought her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. As the girl admired the sea quietly, she wryly embraced the nostalgia brought by her environment and her mind submerged itself in memories of moments by the sea from long ago.

Faded pictures transitioned in her mind: scenes of spotting dolphins in the distance, of large and almost frightening waves rising above her head, and clips of the ocean pulling her under many times. It’d toss her around and fill her ears, nose, and eyes with salt water before tossing her onto the shore, scraping her legs and stomach against rough sand and broken shells in the process. Though a little violent, she loved the thrill of the water dominating her. It stole her ability to control her body and played her like a puppet, and for a moment she could be a part of the sea.

Her childish but imaginative mind had always liked to believe she had some deep connection with the sea. And she accepted the idea that the sea had some sort of spirit. It was so alive, even now as a slight wave lifted itself from the surface. It seemed so easy for all that water to just pick itself up and curl itself into a perfect wave that sometimes stretched far on both its sides.

She watched as the water spoke strongly through its lifted body and imagined the pressure of the wave, almost feeling its intensity squeeze her chest – smothering her – as she concentrated solely on it for that meager moment – and at last gravity defied its will to rise and it was pulled aggressively back onto the shore. Refusing to withdraw back into its body quite yet, it traveled up the beach. It pressed toward the girl, and for a moment she lapsed back into her carefree, imaginative mindset; the ocean knew she’d returned to it, and it was pushing itself up the shore to greet her. It barely managed to kiss the tips of her toes before retreating. The touch sent a shiver through her body; despite the warmth of the sun, goose bumps rose on her skin. She accepted the touch as a whisper of forgiveness for her absence.

Some of the water had been left behind as the wave retreated, and it made a wet imprint of its final shape in the sand. There were a lot of these on the shore. All were from waves that had managed to climb farther than the rest. If a big wave came through, it would erase all the other imprints in order to leave its own. It was like a contest amongst the waves; maybe the ocean had many spirits in it, the girl thought. And perhaps they were always competing and quarrelling – no wonder the ocean was so rough and full of emotion at times. It had clashing personalities, all which unceasingly battled for dominance.

The girl raised herself off the ground. Sand stuck to her, but she didn’t bother to brush it off. She stepped into the wet imprint the wave had just left and followed it downward, just as another small wave tossed itself onto the sand. It quickly sped along up the shore to greet her and wrapped itself around her ankles. It was cool and welcoming – as the water began to pull back, she knew it was only trying to pull her in this time. And she continued to follow it, returning to her sea.

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Andres V. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm
absolutely wonderful
Foxy said...
Feb. 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm
Great descriptions of the sea, I almost feel like I was there
-Ash- said...
Feb. 5, 2012 at 3:40 am
amazing! i love this, the descriptions and just everything! 5 stars! :)
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