As as the tide retreats and the waves push their foamy swash less and less up the shore, the sand slowly releases its water to the sea. The waves’ rush carries sand seaward in its turbulent return and carves craters around rocks in its flow. These depressions attract the rest of the returning water, which at first, runs slowly, but soon draws to itself all the finer rivulets close by and picks up speed and sand from up-shore. The carved capillaries etched by this cascade of events grow and stretch their feathery fronds for as long as there is any free water to flow. After the last of the water has flowed, the radiant patterns that it has left around the rocks remain like filaments of frozen fire, until the next larger wave or tide advances to renew this formative artistry.
Nowhere more than in the action of water on its carriers, does the fire force of growth and life hover so near to the inorganic without actual embodiment. It is not insignificant that the flowing patterns of these most evanescent of river systems speak to our artistic intuition about the veins of plants and the circulation of blood. All are the flaming signature of life itself. In us, the fire is finally felt in the expansive warmth of a loving heart. Which may give us some understanding of the original, ever-present and unembodied life force that creates, through the gravity of water, these works of art in the moist and matted sand.