We crept along the rocks, and how gallant we were, and how brave, through petrified forests of pilings and finally an upturned boat. Rubbish to one soured by too much ambition and too little time, but for us a magnificently sordid chapel, in which we placed, with reverence, the treasures delivered to us by the sea. Clouded from their tumbled journey, bits of glass and shells, none of the blushing citron of the encyclopedic illustrations, but subtle, pale violet and silver, chalky white along the edges, smooth mother of pearl within. There was a tide-pool, home to hermit crabs and the fossil of a sand dollar, round like a small pancake, but smooth and hard as bone. Behind us climbed the rocks, mingling with the pasture-grasses above until, tickled by the sour Bermuda buttercup, they tumbled back down to the beach.
The tide was in, and there were no crabs to pluck up by their shells, watching them dance in the air until they’d pinch our fingers. The waves lapped at the edge of our stronghold, so we removed our boots and our thick woolen socks, tucking them as far back into the dry boat as we could. Our trousers and shirts we dealt with likewise. Then, wearing only our white underpants, our skin goose-bumped, we waded out into the sea. The green water, breath of the Pacific, was bitingly cold and as it rose up our legs we shrieked with the numbness and dived. Keller was the tallest and the water had little more than reached his knees, “Wait for me!” he cried, collapsing after us, Sanders, Dana and me, into the next wave. And we four splashed and leapt and grabbed one another around the ankle. Past the black mud, churned up by our kicking and through the eelgrass, “I felt something alive, I did!” and soon we were beyond our little cove.