Grandpas Village


Then I drive west a mile to the ocean beach, which I am sorry to say has changed more than Grandpa’s village. When we travelled to the ocean in my boyhood, Dolly and Empress had to labor mightily to pull our wagon to the top of the first dune. Now my car does not notice that there is a climb. The dunes still stretch down to the ocean breakers, a quarter of a mile away; but they have grassed over, and developers have built cottages and laid out roads and dug canals where there used to be only gray driftwood and bone-white sand.

Still, I have no reason to complain. When I walked the other night along the hard sand between high-water mark and the surf, the ocean was a forest fire of phosphorescence. The breakers marched in ranks of yellow-green flame and flung off sparks where they crashed. The sand was suffused with microscopic organisms of light; my footprints followed me in fire. Tiny stars hopped about me.

It is not everywhere, or every night, that a man can stride among constellations.