September evening. A warm breeze hits my face, along with a saltwater spray. Sea air fills my lungs as I inhale deeply, then back out as I exhale. Smoke drifts in from a crackling wood-burning fire, mingling with the heady musk of sea urchins roasting on top. Sheets of white fog hang like pirate-ship sails above a swirling ink-black sea. As it roils, seaweed rushes toward the surf, bringing brine-filled oysters, which spill their juices over shore rocks. The alcohol hits– burning, powerful but I like it.
Now on the fire, chestnuts are roasting– their sugars caramelizing into something sweet, smoky, round, woody. Moss grows somewhere behind me– the smell of peat– and mountains further off, minerally like black slate, so imposing I can taste it, hard and cold, though the fire still burns.
It’s been a long night. The sharp iodine, the crisp sea air, the crackling smoke– all gradually fade as the whipping night wind dies down, the waves become still, the red-hot fire settles into embers– and I drift to sleep with my head on a log and my heels in the sand.