The forewaves run to and from each other, lapping and overlapping in little rippling frills. The sand shelves steeply in a concave curve so that the waves running shorewards rebound diagonally, criss-crossing back through the incoming waves in a series of interlocking diamonds.
Occasionally simultaneous groups of wavelets collide, stop moving, and then fibrillate for a few moments, like a thousand tiny hands upwaving. My chest flutters tremulously in tandem. It’s unbelievably beautiful. And the delights don’t end. Just a few paces further along the beach, a slim freshwater channel is carved in the sand and, as waves flow in over its outgoing stream, their rims curl gently under it, as if they’re cradling the stream, folding themselves around it in light white rolls of froth.
Beyond this channel the sea spreads thinly over a shallow sandbar, swelling out roundly and withdrawing, leaving a trailing edge of lacy bubbles, like a delicate shawl being strewn out and slowly gathered in. Like my heart being strewn out and slowly gathered in, and returned to me, carefully washed and intricately sewn.
Tangasdale beach, Barra, Western Isles / Barraigh, Eilean Siar, Scotland
13th August 2016