A short story from: Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019.

© Sandra Sylvester, 2019

By the Sea, photographic art by Ramona du Houx

She stands just out of reach of the waves. Left foot forward. Mentally challenging her playful opponent. Is it too big to jump over or into? Will Mom get mad if I get my new sun-suit wet?

She feels the spray as the wave rolls in. Taunting her to try. To take the risk. To make her own decision about what to do in the next split second of her life, when the wave will do what waves do, whether she likes it or not.

Her family has come to this place, to this spot, since she was just a baby. Her father held her in front of himself and dipped her tiny toes in the cold, salty, dark-blue water of Maine. He was always there to pull her back if the next wave looked threatening.

Now she stood there alone for the first time. The rocks bit into her bare feet. She tasted salt on her tongue. She felt the salt water reach out and lick at her bare legs. The wind produced by the waves blew her ponytail and knocked her slightly off her feet. She teetered on the edge of decision. She stepped back, closed her eyes, raised her face to the sun, and let the glory of that beautiful day sink into her soul. The sun baked her little-girl body. As the waves rolled in, she remembered how she longed for that sweet sound in the long, cold, unforgiving nights of winter.

She didn’t know where each wave began. From across the other side of the world? From just across the cove here? It didn’t matter. All she knew was that waves have no end. They will always be there, no matter what. This particular wave may end here at her feet, but there will always be another one right behind it. She jumped over the incoming wave and met the next one head on.


Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019 was published after a contest for writers to create stories to accompany art photography that depicted Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. This story was published in the book along with 27 others.

An overwhelming 88 stories were submitted for the contest. In the end seventeen writers were chosen. Their stories are told with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection with the sea into words.

A gallery exhibit/booksigning was held at Gallery Fukurou in September 2019. The contest was held by Polar Bear and Company, of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for our project that enabled the Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.”

Please ask your local bookstore to order it in for you or, if need be, purchase it HERE. All photographic art is available through Gallery Fukurou at info(at)soloncenter.org.