It was cold and windy, scarcely the day to take a walk on that long beach Everything was withdrawn as far as possible, indrawn: the tide far out, the ocean shrunken, seabirds in ones or twos. The rackety, icy, offshore wind numbed our faces on one side; disrupted the formation of a lone flight of Canada geese; and blew back the low, inaudible rollers in upright, steely mist.
The sky was darker than the water --it was the color of mutton-fat jade. Along the wet sand, in rubber boots, we followed a track of big dog-prints (so big they were more like lion-prints). Then we came on lengths and lengths, endless, of wet white string, looping up to the tide-line, down to the water, over and over. Finally, they did end: a thick white snarl, man-size, awash, rising on every wave, a sodden ghost, falling back, sodden, giving up the ghost... A kite string?--But no kite.
On the way back our faces froze on the other side. The sun came out for just a minute. For just a minute, set in their bezels of sand, the drab, damp, scattered stones were multi-colored, and all those high enough threw out long shadows, individual shadows, then pulled them in again. They could have been teasing the lion sun, except that now he was behind them --a sun who'd walked the beach the last low tide, making those big, majestic paw-prints, who perhaps had batted a kite out of the sky to play with.