By Ma Xiao Chun
The beach is everyone’s favourite destination. It is regarded as a relaxing place due to its tranquilly, surrounded by nature’s finest beauty. Moments before you forget about worries, it starts with the grainy feeling of the sand between the toes. A warm sun beating down on your skin.
Having the knowledge that if you get too hot, you can jump into the cool ocean and instantly cool off. Also, to float in the ocean and feel part of it. The ultimate relaxation is to not only feel but also hear the waves. No matter how detailed or descriptive the picture is, it will never capture the true beauty of the beach. Not only above but also below. Astonishing views fill the ocean and as they say, “All I need is a good dose of vitamin sea.”
Looking down the beach at Turtle Island in the dusky half-light, we see the cutest thing evolution has ever created: baby turtles that are mirror images of their giant parents, but as small as mice. In the distance, we can hear the soft crackling of eggshells as the hatchlings break free and make their way to the water below us.
The turtles’ incredible perfect memory, which conveys an image of the beach where they were born, means that we must squint in the dark to follow their progress to the sea, and their new life-torches are an absolute no-no when watching hatchlings.
After a while, they will use the information they have gained to return to the same location and lay their own eggs. The use of bright lights interferes with their snapshot processing.
Following that, we spend the next day swimming with the mother turtles in the shallows, and that evening we decide to arrive at the beach an hour earlier to get a better view of the hatchlings. Other resort guests have the same idea, and we were rewarded with the sight of dozens of baby turtles clambering over the dunes and making a beeline for the water, thanks to their efforts. The sight of seagulls swarming over the narrow strip of beach and picking the hatchlings off at will makes us feel sick to our stomachs.
The resort’s mission statement was crystal clear: “Let nature take its course.” But there is a limit to how much agony we can bear while watching delicate, beautiful creatures being chomped on. Some guests throw themselves into the fray, calming the birds as they make their raids. With a tinge of guilt in their hearts, the humans return to the beach to watch the rescued babies make their way out to sea.
Only one turtle out of every 10,000 will make it to adulthood. As the hatchlings dive between the waves, the guests believe they may have reduced the odds a little bit. They try to keep their smiles on their faces as they watch the action. Such self-satisfaction is short-lived.
“Does that look like a mother turtle out there?” One of the guests inquires. It doesn’t take long to realise that what appears to be turtle flippers are shark fins, and that the reef sharks are huddling for their evening meal. Sharks are generally harmless to humans, but no brave saviour steps forward to swim out and scare them away, leaving evolution to continue its relentless path. Nature does have a way of putting things right after a wrong.
After that, I simply sit there and watch at the sun which is about to set for a few more minutes. I begin to have feelings of serenity and tranquillity. There are not enough hours in the day, I believe, since time is moving at a glacial pace, and I am savouring every moment. In comparison to the vast expanse of the ocean before me, all my worries seem little, and each one of them is being swept away by the waves, and at that very moment I am completely satisfied with my life’s circumstances.
There’s something extremely spiritual about this vista that I find inspiring. Looking out towards the horizon from where I’m sitting, I can see that the sun has nearly completely set and that’s just the tip of the horizon which is left to fade into the ocean. “Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” The colours of the sky have now shifted from yellow and orange to pink and purple, signalling the passage from daytime to night-time, respectively.
As soon as the sun has fully sunk below the lake, I begin to gently stroll back towards the resort, still soaking in the beauty and calm of it all and knowing that I will not be able to experience this every day but relishing every minute of it. As the sun begins to set, people begin to depart the beach, and the sky begins to darken progressively. On my way down to the resort’s stairwell, I take one final look back and remember what the highlight of my day has been – watching the hatching turtles.
Nature is vibrant, a proud provider of all things. Nature provides us with all we have, whether it is raw or refined. Love, joy, riches, happiness, energy, food, water, clothes, shelter, and whatever else you may think of. Whatever she is unable to absorb is the result of a life’s significance being unchanged.
Nothing compares to the sight of walking on a weathered path covered by trees on both sides or closing your eyes to see more clearly when small raindrops touch your skin but calm your mind, when you place your feet in a never-ending motion of the sea waves, no matter how many fancy malls and restaurants you visit.
When your dreams are filled with beautiful meadows overflowing with vividly coloured flowers and deep woods with towering trees, you’ve been fortunate. How could anything be more wonderful, how could paradise be more joyful than this? ***
(This article is written as part of individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)