Company on the Beach

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“It happened, one day about noon going towards my boat, I was exceedingly surprised, with the print of a man’s naked foot on the shore, which was very plain to be seen in the sand. I stood like one thunder-struck, or as if I had seen an apparition;” says Robinson Crusoe. Mmm hmm. “I listened, I looked round me, I could hear nothing, nor see any thing . . . I went to it again to see if there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my fancy; but there was no room for that, for there was exactly the very print of a foot, toes, heel, and every part of a foot; how it came thither I knew not, nor could in the least imagine.”

I generally know how they come thither. Footprints at the far end of the beach come from heat-resistant tourists, visiting from the hotel up the hill, but it’s still surprising and interesting when you spot them here, especially if the footprints lead  – splat splat splat – into the undergrowth or the dark bowels of the stinky bat cave, and don’t come out again.  Sometimes, retracing my footsteps along the beach, I find them criss-crossed with fresh animal prints. I like the fact that whatever it is – here that old pizote again – is as interested in me as I am in him, despite the distance he maintains; that we two things have shared the enjoyment of a solitary amble in this lovely place.

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