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September, 2001

Ocean Night

Val, Lake Michigan, 1959
Originally from Moments by Valerie, a collection of memories (1961-1983), written in 1986 and presented to Larry on their first anniversary.

Being near the ocean is always one of my favorite locations, but sitting alone on a beach during a moonless night is a unique experience. Although the waves always break in about the same place, there is an unshakable feeling that the water is creeping closer to where one is sitting. This is really the only unsettling thing about the strange landscape, where myriad stars are visible while the water and sand are invisible in the pitch black. Far away from city lights, the stars and planets bejewel the sky in a splendor that is rarely matched. Added to the sound of the waves and the night wind, it is like experiencing some fantastic multi-media artwork. If one looks very closely at the edge of the water, there is another source of light, although very dim. The tiny plankton and diatoms in the water glow with a faint yellow-green phosphorescence on the rim of each wave. As the water sinks into the sand, it leaves behind this dim sparkle which soon fades, only to be renewed by the next wave.