Inspired by La Digue du Braek in Second Life, a stretch of road and sand between ocean and canal that is near Dunkerque in northern France.
I squint my eyes, watching the orange tinted horizon. Dark, motionless clouds hang in a feint sky, mimicking the glassy surface of the sea.
Water and sand meet in a hard unwavering line that delineates them, one not daring to disturb the other. Stalks of sparse grasses scattered across the sand stand like sentries, their rigid form silhouetted against the reflected light.
The sky is silent. The water silent. Neither inhaling nor exhaling. My own breath stops in accord with the elements. The air before me left untouched.
Time becomes frozen. Time becomes limitless. Time is nonexistent.
I close my eyes and see the horizon in its perfect formation, a crease in the fabric of time reflecting back on itself. Sky becomes water, becomes sky. Circling endlessly, silently.
The cry of a seagull pierces the blanket of stillness. I open my eyes.
Only then do I see the lifeless bodies among the grasses. The plumes of sooty smoke sifting toward the sky.
Only then do I hear whimpers escape the cracked lips of a nearby soldier. Only then do I hear the staccato fire of machine guns in the night, the grind of tank treads across the sand, the roaring boom of explosives, the anguished cries of men.
Only then do I see the flashes of light against shadows moving in the dark, the red splattered faces of men dragging fallen comrades to safety.
Only then do I see…
Only then do I remember…
Only then do I exhale…
by Barbara Seaton/Helena Kiama (SL)
February 7, 2017