Kersbossstrand – strand as in beach.

Flamingos to go

I stand on the beach and listen to the ocean, warmed by the setting sun. Today the sea whispers in soft susurrations.
Sometimes it has a more resonant chant that pulses a rhythm in keeping with my heartbeat. Perhaps the pulse I hear is the modulation the rush of blood through my body gives to the sounds in my eardrum, the sound of my own pulse of life. Perhaps the rhythm of the sea is gaia’s breath, the planet breathing. Only occasionally does this shallow bay roar.

As I walk mussel shells crunch under my feet, amongst them the inverted corpses of crabs and casings of prawns. Between shards of shells fine sand shines with the glisten left by retreating waves, shining like diamonds.

The occasional cry of a gull breaks the silence that shrouds the eyeless body of a seal staring blankly up the beach towards the dunes. Ahead the strand stretches north towards Namibia, south towards the ore port of Saldanha and the Cape beyond, whilst out to sea the silent silhouettes of the giant ore carriers stretch across the horizon as they queue to take their turn loading ore for the steel mills of China.

In return the Chinese send their litter, plastic bottles washing up on this otherwise pristine shoreline. Further down where the luxury beach houses stand weekending South Africans show they don’t care with discarded wine bottles, fag packets and neat piles of dog shit.

In arcadia dogs go.

This place was in my heart as a little piece of heaven come to earth. I treasured my visits but now watch as my partner gathers bags of rubbish from the beach. She looks at each piece to determine where it came from – this gallon container marked in Chinese characters, a juice pot character marked in Turkish. Blue packs of Gitanes from France, a broken headlamp housing from a Korean 4×4. All snagged amongst the fisher nets from local boats and plastic sheeting from the continuing building of yet more luxury retreats whose owners see this paradise as they buy, unaware of its despoliation by society’s unthinking drones.

Sanderlings continue their busy search amongst the grains of sand and shell casings. Grey gulls soar, hover briefly to drop a mussel to force it open for their latest meal. A seal floats on its back offshore, flippers in the air as a pod of porpoises’ gambols past. The Cape Cormorants process below the tops of the wave crests, in long lines, dipping, occasionally joining the Terns in mass explosive dives on shoals of fish. A flock of Flamingos fly past, their wings flashing the red warning of what we, the watchers ashore are doing to their environment. Alex, in tune with his world, comments “one big wave would wash this clean”. He means houses too.

Unheeding, yet relentless, the waves continue their gentle pushing against the dunes. I listen and watch, saddened, my paradise lost.

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