My Shadow Stands Its Ground

I remember how it was as though it was yesterday: My shadow is long as it stretches over the sand. It’s early morning. The chairs and chaise longues are not out on the sand yet.

Waves come in, washing away sand and leaves and bubbles left by the previous wave. My shadow stretches ahead over the sand, long and lean.

The dog approaches. He stands in the waves. Then he jumps this way and that.

Where’s his owner? I look around. No one is paying him any attention.

No collar.

He comes closer. He’s daring me in some way. Threatening me.

He doesn’t want to play.

I walk away from him. He follows. He gets closer. I turn to face him. He’s a biggish dog, black, sleek, lean, hungry.

I stand my ground and decide to send him good wishes and peace from my heart and mind.

He seems content. He turns away. Abashed?

I walk away and I’m alone for a while, alone with my thoughts and my shadow.

I watch the waves, ebbing and flowing and ebbing and flowing.

He’s back. I feel him behind me, looking at me. He’s daring me. Daring me to do what? To be fearful?

I turn and stand my ground again. Send him good wishes, peace, calmness. My wishes to calm him calms me too.

I walk away.

The pattern continues, even as I leave the beach and walk up the cobbled hill. Finally, he doesn’t follow.

This year, I see the black dog on the beach again. He doesn’t recognize me. I am one of many.

My shadow is not so long in the early morning light.

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