pool

Text: Dune grasses

Clever dune grasses. Their glossy, spiny leaves spike into sea mists, gathering droplets trickling down to thirsty, tangled-string roots resisting the wind and slowing the dune’s journey up from the wasteland shore to envelop lush forests in ruin – trees at the forest fringe wade into sand tides and drown.

Tussocks tuft the dune and I could have danced many legged amongst them, sheltering in their flimsy shade from the parching sun – an insect in my own hard shell.

Instead, I chose a softer life in the forest behind the cape, not knowing the sun’s blistering blast until the forest fell. Now I gasp, cursing the dune and the axeman, and will perish in the waterless waste – for dune grasses no waste at all.

The dune advances more slowly for its tufted fringe, but advances yet with patient majesty in sand cascades of fluid grace; in swirling breezes nibbling forward. One forest seedling after another struggling in the dead roots of a fallen parent is overtaken and sand smothered. And where the dune passes, a bleached and baked terrain emerges – the bones of things have their beauties too.

But today, rain. Thunder batters the tin-plate sky and heavy drops bounce on sun-caked soils. Rivulets form in the steeps of the dune – although they quickly drain away.

Behind the dune, bleached gray, twisted and cracked, the sculptural root of a long fallen tree protrudes. And beside it, in prickly health, a gray-blue ground-hugging plant glistens rain-wet as the sun breaks through. Dune-trailed sand streamers gather in rills in the lee of knobby protrusions, hidden from the driving winds. They are water darkened and heavy-drop pockmarked – but will gleam in the evening light.

My shadow grows long and thin as the first sand-grains, wind dried and driven, pepper my knees and gather at my feet. The world I lose reveals a world brand new for those who come behind. As my life is peeled away another is revealed – another younger life and more hardy, more fit for a life in sand.


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