The air smelt of the sea. It’s salty spray flew into the heavens as the thunderous waves pounded the jagged rocks and then plunged back into the watery expanse from which it came. The gulls cried a lonely chorus as they circled tirelessly over the opaque cliffs. Cliffs that rose like white giants grasping at the heavens and guarding the earth from the sea.
Twilight was near for an artist had brushed his fingers across the canvas of the sky. The sea met the exquisite masterpiece in a swirl of smoky blue. Overhead, dashes of pink harmonized the orange and swirled together with scarlet. The evening star shone like a jewel in the heavens eternal crown. In these last moments before night reigned supreme, the earth grew bold and the land glowed in an emerald splendor and the wind lifted into the air the luscious fragrance of life.
The white giants, now shining silver, watched as a figure rode along the shore on a gray mount. Reluctant departing rays of sunlight nipped at the horse’s heels and played in the rider’s hair, which sought to be free from the cloak that covered both the horse and his mount. As they plunged into the sea, the cloak fell back and the rider, a woman, was revealed to the moon. Her hair flew wildly about her face and the setting sun found strands of red and gold hidden among her graying hair. In an instant a halo blazed around her face as she gently drew her horse to a standstill.
The woman gazed out at the swelling waves and their foamy crowns. She inhaled the salt in air and the scent of heather that drifted down from atop the cliffs. Raising her eyes she memorized the patterns brushed into the evening sky and a small smile played at the corners of her mouth. Her horse let out a small whinny and she laughed, the sound ringing off the cliffs like silver bells.
“Are you tired, Neal?” she spoke to her horse as she would any old friend. The horse tossed its head in a deft reply, and she patted his wet neck. “I suppose we are both too old to be romping through the waves as we used to do.”
She climbed off his back and began to walk along the shore. Her white feet sunk into the sand and the water danced around her ankles. Closing her eyes again, she let memory serve as her guide along the beach. Like a familiar face, each rock, each tidal pool, rose before her closed eyes, echoing haunting voices from the past. A cry sounded overhead and she lifted her face to the crier. A seagull descended from its nest and she turned to watch it walk behind her in search of food. As pecked among the shells, its footprints along with her own disappeared under the constant waves.
“We are too old,” she sighed, reaching up to stroke her horse’s neck. “Even the sea wants to forget about us.” She turned and looked out across the watery expanse to where the evening star was beginning to rise. “I used to want to live forever, but now…. Life seems to be too long a road for me to travel.”
She sat down on a piece of driftwood and raised a chin to her knee. Reaching down, she traced images in the sand, figures drawn from the shadows of her past. Then closing her eyes again, she leaned back against a rock and began to remember.