Through a dark tunnel of tangled fern and fig,
We tread carefully along a humid track,
Wondering what lies ahead.
There had been no signs or markings at the roadside,
Just a gap in the trees, beckoning us in.
As we walk, we feel the forest edge approaching-
A breeze, at first so soft that only the newest growth is trembling
Circles salt air up into the ancient canopy
Until fan palms dance and sun filters down
Lighting a path of fallen fronds and blue damsons.
Seconds later, it looms before us with a jolt –
A vast and frightening beauty, hard and bright.
It’s wild and raw and empty –
A place of fierce and fragile edges,
Where rainforest and reef collide.
Ahead, a pale and duneless sandscape,
Sculpted by gusting winds and rushing tides
Stretches out from mangroved fringes
Pushing a thousand crystal serpents toward a foamy horizon
Where relentless breakers pound coral into sand.
Amid the roar and hiss and throbbing drama
A solitary mangrove basks in a low tide lagoon,
All quiet strength and peaceful resilience.
I walk out to it, intrigued by its tranquil presence
And stay there, spell-bound, until the tide rushes in.