I walked up to where the surfers were, to see about doing some photos. I could see them from where I set out. In the distance, they looked like glimmering birds floating on the water. As I walked toward them, they did not get closer to me as quickly as I thought they would.

For something so full of perspective, beaches are deceptive when it comes to matters of proportion.

The sand was soft and gave under my feet. Even the sand where the water washed over. It’s a symptom of Sandy, the softness. Even though she never really landed down here, she sat just off-shore and pushed the beach further in, or made it disappear altogether. And she made the beach soft. Which is harder to walk on.

Still, I walked up to where the surfers were, in the soft sand, to see about doing some photos. But when I got there, I realized I had forgotten to put a memory card in my camera. And while it might be wrong to call this tragic, I found very little humor in it.

So I went back to where I started and I got my memory card and I looked around the beach, closer to where I was now. I looked around there so I wouldn’t have to walk as far on the soft sand to look at beach I had already looked at. Just to go back up to where the surfers were.

I looked and I found this instead: a little soul patch of grass book-ended by twigs. And I wondered if it had always been beaten by the waves like this, if it had always been part of the wet and the wake, or if it had been more firmly on dry beach at one time. And I bent over and put my camera next to it and then lifted it at the last minute just before the waves got close. And the waves soaked my legs and made my shorts wet and caked with grains, which is a beach symptom I can tolerate.

Tomorrow, I will walk on the soft sand back to where the surfers are.