The shores drew back and forth tirelessly on the beach front while the sun flickered down to a firefly’s strength. The wind was calm. The seagulls had long retreated from a day of terrorizing, pillaging and pooping. Their shrills had etched a permanent echo of triumphant white “splatters” all along the sand. Hot dog vendors had long closed; the enchanting smell of pig intestine still saturated the air. There was not a soul to be seen. Beaches during this time of night were a dangerous thing. Here, in the ghost-town of a million glittery beads of sand, I found myself. I was but a mote of dust in the cosmic sea of white-spotted sand, left-over meat, and a never-ending ocean; I was drowning in the Milky Way.
I paused like an astronaut does when first existing the stratosphere to see the world fading away. I did not utter as Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut in space, “I don’t see a God here”. Nor when I stepped and floated on the tiny grain particle did I jump around and resoundingly echo as Neil Armstrong did, “That is one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” God was around me; man had trekked this beaches one thousand times over and back. Instead I stood in the silence, listening to the constant lapping of the sea. I gazed upon its sprawling expanse, all light and mist, all breathlessness and infinity. Then, I took a laboured breath, gulped down the only evidence of God I needed from a paper bag, and rested my head in the sea of sandy stars.
What seemed like hours passed by as my eyes drifted back and forth between restlessness and complete exhaustion. Still the waves echoed their secret tune, one which had remained constant throughout the creation of the world. All of a sudden, though, their constant harmony was interrupted by some scurrying beside me. It was a spider, one which stood at the bottom of a sand dune. It was stuck. In resistance to its unlucky circumstance, it tried to climb out. Each time, the sand crumbled beneath its feet, creating a tomb for the insect. It did this time and time again. I wondered whether or not it simply had to short of a memory, and could not remember its futile attempts. “Don’t waste your energy, bub,” I whispered, “If you move in this quicksand of life, you’ll just sink faster.”
Yet the spider pushed onward, completely neglecting my fair warning. So I watched and watched and watched again until it seemed the spider was completely devoid of energy. Silence, save for the beaches that roared onwards regardless of my presence, regardless of the spider’s tireless efforts, regardless of the repugnant custard and potato chip smell, reclaimed the beach. I closed my eyes again. Peace had been restored. The natural order in the world was right. The good guy, or good insect, or good whatever, had lost.
But as soon as I had closed my eyes, the spider in its triumphant stupidity, climbed onwards. So I opened one eye, and almost in slow-motion, the spider continued to labour onwards up the mountain of sand. It had made ground, and then suddenly, it shot upwards, and reached the top. It stood there for what seemed like hours on top of Mount Olympus, show-boating and simply being glorified by its audience of one. I was enchanted. Persistence, not stupidity, was what the spider was made of. It then took one step forward, and fell again in another dune. I laughed. Life was no more than a constant uphill battle, only to fall down again.
Satisfied, I fell asleep.
When I woke up to the alarm of seagulls screeching, I looked around. There was a thin web in almost every little dune I could see. It was marvelous, providing a glitter that only could have been thought would be possible at night. The once white-splattered beach had become a silver mine. I searched for the Leonardo Da Vinci of arachnids, but it was no where to be seen. Then, I simply looked up above me. In the frame of a light post, I was struck by the image of the itsy-bitsy spider. Besides coating the beach in an endless silver carpet, it had decided to manufacture a gigantic and far-fetched web in a space that could easily fit two minivans end to end. This determined spider, no matter how many times the wind unrigged the anchor, how many times the web buckled and sagged, went on with its work, climbing to the top of its string thin web only to let out more dental floss in the wind. With its free-falling, silk thread trembling behind it, the spider was making sense of the world. It had sewn it together as best as it could.
I stood up and brushed myself off. I was walking on silver carpet, somewhere, for some reason, careful not fall into my own sand dunes. I had left behind God’s judgment in the bottled up paper-bag princess.