We clamber over dunes that heap sand into my shoes,
until a broad flat beach stretches before us –
west to the estuary and east to the hills –
Sky, sand, sea, space, to the end of my fingertips,
the scent of salt and seaweed gliding past my nose.

In the distance, a mirage glimmers like water,
blurring the horizon, smudging the hills.
In the foreground, a colony of crab holes
speckle the surface of the sand like pinpricks,
like tiny craters, a miniature moonscape.

A pair of oyster catchers nestle, coyly,
at the centre of the beach,
immersed in their own world,
oblivious to their vulnerability,
their beaks a crimson beacon.

Beside the surf, a handful of horses gather,
eager to gallop yet contained.
Patient with nervous young riders,
the gentle waves nipping at their hooves,
a gentle breeze tickling their manes.

A moated sandcastle – a sand city –
crowned with grey-and-gnarly driftwood,
long bleached by sun and sea,
long deserted by its small creators,
like Mont Saint Michel, adrift in sand.

Leaving shallow footprints behind us,
we wander towards the hills.
Warily, they step back and back,
never letting us too close,
till we tire of the chase and turn home.

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