Foraging on the Beach

The cold dawn air squeezes through the woven wool blanket that wraps him on the grass floor. Children can sleep through anything. But the automatic shivers refuse to let him sleep any longer. In the dark hut, he sees through a gap in the cloth door. There, in the sky towards the east, he sees the color change from dark ink to a more intense blue. He decides to get up, fumble around for his longer pants on the floor and pull them over his skinny legs and bony hips. He finds the long-sleeved cotton shirt, dirty but warm, and pulls it over his frame. He slowly, carefully, steps over the grass floor, each step crackling and causing the others to turn in their places. Slipping through the doorway, he walks out onto the grassy path and makes his way down to the beach. The tide is thankfully low, exposing the bounty of things it deposited over night. The sea slaps against a few nearby rocks, but is otherwise calm as a lake. The salty stench of drying seaweed fills the still morning air. Happily, he seems to be earlier than the scavenging birds that will soon be picking over the morsels, too. He finds a few crawfish, then a conch with meat still in it. Some seaweed will be useful to keep his insides moving. With a basket of finds in his arm, he proudly goes back to the hut where he can show his waking family what he got to start the day.

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