The wind blew off the North Sea with a chill and the beach stones were flat, dark and round.

The Dutch holidayers on the beach were in sharp contrast to those whom we had ridden out with on the morning train, yet immutabily they were the same. The quiet politeness with which they interacted in the cramped cars had been replaced with open smiles and shouts on the brisk and windswept sand. Shirts and pants had disappeared, replaced by bathing suits and wide sunhats that could only have been carried in the close confines of the train.

Lisa and I walked side by side down the beach; jeans rolled up and socks balled into the shoes held in our hands. Lisa’s jacket flapped back and forth against her side; water raced forward and sucked back into itself. A man and woman emerged, dripping and naked; his pubic hair glistened the same as the water on her breasts. Couples, we smiled to eachother as we passed.

Above, the sun shone weakly in a pale sky. Soft rays cut through the darkness beneath the clouds rolling in from the sea. Shadow and light alternated across the sand, swooping across roped-off deck chairs and the long tents with their own colorful stripes. Beyond, light and shadow flowed up the dunes and over, out of sight.