(From a work in progress…)
The next morning, I drove the box of ashes out, far out, along Tomales Bay to the long strip of land that comprises the northern end of the Point Reyes peninsula. I parked by the road, and hiked the long sandy trail along the salt marsh to the wide white ocean beach. The sun was bright, though the day was chilly. My hiking boots slipped in the sand as I made my way to the hard-packed beach by the water’s edge.
When I arrived, I walked south, away from the few other people on the beach. I was looking for the right spot, but then I realized that I would never find it. Where would that be? What would it look like, the place exactly perfect to spill Buddy’s ashes and give them to the sea? There was no such place, here on this beach of breathtaking beauty. No right location, and also, no wrong one. Wherever I stopped would be right; no esoteric riddles or ancient myths could guide or choose, only me.
So I squatted where I was and lifted the lid to the box. I had never looked til now. Gray ash, all that was left. Seven years gone by, almost. No tears came. I looked and looked. Then I turned the box over and the ash made a neat pile on the hard white-brown sand. I stood, and before I could utter even one word of farewell, a wave swept up covering my feet, and the pile of ash. I did not move, the wave just as suddenly retreated. The sand was solid, smooth, no trace of the gray pile of ash. It was gone.
I stood and looked at the beach. Saw Buddy racing around, chasing sticks, rolling in the sand, barking. I smiled, then turned and trudged back along the sandy trail, following the salt marsh to my car. The sun was turning everything golden, again. It was time to go home.