Scrambling out of bed, a tangle of girls head outside.
It is the brightest of days, and my feet are on fire.
The sand is white hot burning soft glittering joy running ouch.
I skip, then sprint to the water’s edge, and plunge my feet into the sea. Relief pours through me as the sweet salty breeze assails my every last nerve, and I drink in the scene.
Grey and white seagulls are diving swiftly. Some float on an unseen wind; others perch on a piece of driftwood.
They confidently hawk insects in mid-flight and hover-dip fish from the sea.
I dig and dig and dig, but the pooling saltwater destroys my humble castle built with scorching grains of rock.
Can a castle exist in a state of humility?
Thousands of tiny diamonds sparkle in the sand. Elusive, I cannot catch them, and I retreat from the twirling sands.
I am eleven and twelve and suddenly a teenager on the shores of North Carolina.
Its series of islands are home for a week in the course of a year. Treacherous open sea and wide expanse of sandy beachfront give me pause to consider what has secreted itself during the school year.
Pink seashells and pirates and ponies, wild, freerange, sun-struck.
Like the gulls, we swim and duck and dive and rest until the sun goes down.