On a Day Well-Spent

VarkalaThere’s a heck of a lot to be said for sitting and watching the sea. And even moreso when the sea is the Arabian, and you’re watching it perched high above on a rocky red cliff in Varkala, India. But seriously, back to the sea.

If you stare long enough (say, for 5 days straight, mostly uninterrupted) you’ll swear you can see – even count! – each little ripple as it makes its course from the horizon toward you. And when it finally arrives, you’ll notice the exact direction it drags sands and pebbles and shattered mussel shells across the shoreline, and get to know the exact moment at which it will crash and spray high above the few jagged, tall rocks at the cliff’s edge.

At some point you’ll even feel you’ve gotten to know well the citizens of the sea – those boatmen on fishing vessels of blues and greens that look long and exotic, like a pirate’s ship without the sails the way they arch up into a dramatic bow. You’ll watch them trawl the waters in front of you, staring at them through binoculars, and wonder what their life is really like, and would it really be all that romantic to be among them, a seafaring women!

Though it’s tempting to do so, you’ll find you refrain from calling out to the enormous birds (hawks, maybe? I’m no ornithologist, unfortunately) that soar and sweep high above you and the sparkly, rippling, cresting sea below. You’ll laugh at how they swoop down so fast and miss whatever prey they were just hunting. And stare in wonder as they carry what appears to be a full-grown shrub in their beaks, as they try to rebuild the nest last night’s storm likely damaged.

And oh yes – the storms. Even though it’s dry season, you’ll watch them roll through each afternoon and eve, grateful for the way the temperature drops as the clouds approach. appreciating the way the sea changes from blue blue blue to silver. And the drops will feel cool on the start of the sunburn that’s been blossoming despite your SPF.

And you’ll swear you’ll sit like this forever, if not for the hunger pangs, and the knowledge that up on the North Cliff the promise of a seafood meal lurks – fish you just watched getting caught, which you will point to and which will be cooked in tandoori spices or a banana leaf, and enjoyed with an ice-cold Kingfisher beer. The reward for a day well-spent, isn’t it?

One Comment

  1. *Sigh”
    Sounds wonderful.