Echo Beach and I (Bali 2017)
In hale, ex-hale. I can taste the salt on the tip of my tongue. The air is sticky, yet somehow also sweet and full of flavor. I run my hand through the rough black sand, sticking like glitter to my fingers. In attempt to find wet and cold sand, I dig my ties into the bone dry, fuming sand, slightly burning my toes in the process.
There’s a lingering scent of fresh coconut and sunblock coming from the dozen occupied sunbeds above the sand dune behind me.
My eyes flicker over the sand, trying to capture the scenic view of Echo Beach. The blue, the center of attention, leads up to a dance as it approaches the beach covering the glistening sand with a roaring ex-hale. A few jump at the opportunity, boards in hand, and with a deep in hale the waves retracts dragging the playful souls out to the dance floor.
A surfer covered in tattoos takes his shot at taming a turquoise wave breaking at the reef. Swiftly, he turns his torso moving the board up towards the sky, and abruptly takes a sharp turn effortlessly gliding along the wave, only to repeat the motion yet again. Once tamed, the wave calms and creeps onto shore, begging others to come play.
Another brave soul attempts a powerful wave further in the distance, but misinterprets its intentions and surrenders to the force of the wave, crashing over the tip and disappearing below the surface. His board shoots into the air, bouncing back reaching the limit of the leach.
Hazy heat waves curve over the horizon, blurring my sight, making it impossible for me to see where the beach ends wrapping around another charcoal black rock, carefully shaped by the tide.
A small breeze jumps up over the elevated sand dune from yet another wave. I breathe in the warm salty air. I close my eyes, letting the sun hit my face. Small pearls of sweat form on my forehead and chest.
Quickly paced, a pair of rookies runs past, warming up for their first surf lesson. Bare feet, they follow the water line down the beach only to be welcomed by a colorful surfboard all prepped for hours of playing with the water. They make it over the first barrel just as the light dims, prepping the sun for bedtime.
A wave crashes against the rocks, breaking into a million small drops of water flying in all directions only to reunite in a small pool beneath the rocks, becoming one with the ocean once again.
There’s a faint sound of reggae playing in the far distance, although it might as well be my sub-consciousness playing the soundtrack to the ‘laisser-faire’ atmosphere. Two stray dogs cheerfully play in the sand catching a few hesitant spectators’ attention. Colorful beanbags and drinks menus replace the unused sunbeds as more crowds approach the now bearable sand.
The water retracts, gathering strength, and bounces back like an elastic band tied to the palm trees marking the beginning of the beach. It tumbles upon shore, sweeping up the sand, conquering more territory each time. Briefly kissing the tip of my toes it warns me about the next wave.
Clouds appear in a soft line across the horizon, just above the surface of the water, creating a fluffy pillow for sun to go to sleep on. Deep orange and still bright, the flawless circle reluctantly begins its landing, unwilling to say goodnight just yet.
A rogue surfer rides his last wave into shore. Behind him appear hundreds of black silhouettes slowly rocking back and forth, the water slurping around their waists and each of their boards peaking up from the blue. Facing the setting sun, they honor its beauty and power, saying adieu until they meet again.
I feel a small smile of pure joy creeping upon my lips just as the sun dips satisfied below the water with a relieved exhale, and wild fires of red, orange and purple dance across the sky wishing all souls farewell. Darkness ascends whilst the energy of the night sprouts like weeds between the straight lines of daytime.