By Catherine Hedge
One of the best aspects of teaching writing is that inspiration flows as much from the students to the teacher as the other way around. If I challenge the students to do a bit of quick writing and then share, the corollary is that I am supposed to do it, too!
I hope you like this memory they inspired me to write.
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The sea wind rushes like a friend to embrace me. It tosses my hair wild. Salty strands catch in the corners of my mouth. Flying sand peppers my hair, my long eyelashes, and grinds between my teeth. Waves crash nearby, sending the sea spray cold against my skin. I shut my eyes tightly and shiver, but I don’t care. I am ten-years-old and perched on my favorite rock at Trinidad Beach in Humboldt County, California. From here, I feel the whole world is my domain.
I stare out across the ocean to the horizon where the setting sun looms like a blood orange Japanese glass float. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we find real glass floats loosed from far-away fishing nets. They’ve bobbed all the way across the sea to my beach. Someday, if I’m lucky, I will cross the Pacific to sit on the opposite side, staring out toward my rock.
For now, imagination and reality blur. Though my long legs are white and coated with wet sand to my knees, though I wear plaid cotton shorts and one of Daddy’s t-shirts, though I’m thin, stringy-haired, with too large teeth, I am surrounded by magic. I’m riding on the waves, counting the swells to the big one…One two three four five SIX!
Any moment now, I know my skinny legs will transform to a long tail. Gleaming, scaled, just like the marlin’s hanging on the bait shop wall. I will take the form of a woman with silky hair, covering just the right places.
My family will watch, amazed. I’ll hear their forlorn cries as I plunge into the sea. I will return to my rock, to my home. Eventually. But for now, the sea is mine and shall always be.
©2015 Catherine Hedge