I stand in the water at the edge of the world where Carolina coast shakes hands with foreign friends – hello, Africa. Hello, Europe. Hello, drops that carried our ancesestors over and salted the fish on my plate last night.

I play a little game, warm water up to my waist. How long can I keep my feet in one place? The sea is subtle today, confident enough in her power to take a break from showing off. Her waves are gentle, rhythmic, tame.

Still, rare is the woman who can challenge the sea in any kind of game and win. I lock my knees, set my eyes on the gray outline of a shrimp boat, pour all my power into keeping my feet firmly planted. But even these training-wheel waves move me. I spread my hands upon the water, hold out arms, dig in heels.

The sea smiles. She breathes. I lose my balance.

Finally, I declare defeat. I loosen my knees and surrender my body to the unforced swaying of the sea. The girls hold hands far to my left. I can hear them laughing, faces turned out to the line of blue on blue.

As I watch them, I realize my feet haven’t moved. Even as my body dips and swings, my feet stay in one sandy place beneath me. It goes against every instinct, to surrender to this rhythm, to give in to the movement outside my control. Victory after all, and I didn’t even see it coming.

You may get your desired results, but not on your own terms this time.

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