Warm silk sand slips through my fingers as my hands dig into the beach on either side of my outstretched legs. I repeat this motion one the sand disappears back into the massive carpet of sparkling light. I am eight years old, unconscious of my round belly folds formed by slouching to view the sun twinkling off the grains like refractions of fire. I am living in my body with the sand and with the earth and I belong here.
Photographs of my heavily freckled face, my flyaway sprawling mass of hair reveal this blind oblivion to self and world as separated lives. I can see the unselfconsciousness in my eyes, but that was about to change irreversibly.
There is one particular day where the shift began and this floats in my memories of days on that same beach. I am wearing a bikini, not quite developed to be the bikinis associated with womanhood, and I decide to go for a quick swim. The sun is high and it is the middle of summer. The beach is crowded with camping families, towels and blankets spread wide and umbrellas to block the glare of sunlight off the pure white sand. Sounds of laughter and chatter and waves fill my ears. My feet burn on the hot sand as I traverse from towel to lake whose water is clear and immediately refreshing. I wade in looking down at the water and eventually feel the waves gently rocking me at the waist, small crashing crests floating around me with bubbles which quickly evapourate.
A waterbound log floats my way and I decide to lean on this limb while riding the rise and fall of the water, the flow guiding me without my control. Something shifts in me and I become acutely aware of this moment. I wonder, “Will I remember this?”. In this sudden shift, I become an observer of my life, a witness to the moment, and I squint at the sandy bottom of the lake. Feet touched down, I then lift one leg over the heavy dark log and feel a sharp scratch across my inner thigh. Pulling away, I raise my thigh and think, “Now I have a scar; my body will carry the memory.”