The river gurgled next to him, spilling over its bank and sinking into the sand beneath glistening twigs and pine needles. He looked back at its bend and watched ripples gallop like horses down the stretch. With water flowing in from the ocean, however, it gave the curious perception of fast flowing waves standing still. A seagull swooped low, beating wings hard. Only the water was in a hurry. The clouds, rock cliffs, squat homes and stranded logs — they held their place. Immovable. But the river surged anxiously to the sea and setting sun.
The sun lit a trail of fire from the sand in front of him past hard ripples and whitecaps to a golden pool propped against a pale backdrop of sky where a one-mast boat bobbed. It looked like a golden torch with the tapered end in front of him widening to the horizon before it ended and picked up again as a ball of flame. A torch he dare not grab — could not grab. And yet, what if he could? Would he be a god? Could he heal the world? Could he heal his daughter? Could he sup with Solomon?
The wind cooled his nose and cheeks and tugged at his hair. Even pockets could not warm his fingers, but their shelter was welcome still. Paw prints circled around him in the mud, then tore a track to his left…seemingly across the clouds, for the sky was relfected in the sheen of low tide. The reflection was an impressionist painting, blurred and blobbed and altogether pleasant with its lack of harsh clean lines and stark dimension.
Look up, he reminded himself, for this was land of horizon and sky. Sun, cliffs, and a distant lighthouse. Clouds — whether cotton ball puffs or towering white constructions grasping blue with airy tendrils while letting gray settle to their bottom only to pour out rain when tickled by mountains. Turning around, he could see the haze of their meeting: mountain top and cloud bottom. But above him it was only blue. Blue and sun and cold fingers and a river running still. For these he was thankful.