The Coast of Shifting Dreams
A timeworn sigh echoed from the silver Elantra, keys jingling as I walked. To the left, the weathered “Indiana Dunes State Park” sign swayed with a melancholic croak, bearing the scars of countless seasons. A gentle breeze, as tender as a loving embrace, meandered through the deteriorated parking lot as I approached the dull brown staircase. My hand reached for the banister and, with each step, a symphony of waves crescendoed its melody as the scent of crisp, briny air began to fill my lungs.
When I reached the sandy coast, I expected to hear the laughter of children, to see sandcastles and sunbathers present all around. But no joyful laughter could be heard; not a single person was in sight.
My gaze lowered to my feet, sinking into the golden field below. It was warm to the touch, and each grain felt coarse and brittle, like an unearthed artifact of the past. I shot my eyes upwards once again, casting my gaze out upon the boundless canvas that was Lake Michigan. The waves coursed with a rhythmic cadence that beckoned my attention. Yet, as I stared upon the azure expanse, the sand beneath me began to swirl and dance, rising into the air like a fine mist. It enveloped me, my surroundings becoming unrecognizable, until a gust of wind blew it all away.
Before me now stretched an arid landscape marred with rolling tumbleweeds. A troupe of leather-coated cowboys galloped past on their steeds, their six-shooting stallions gleaming beneath the harsh sunlight. And, as their tanned hats and jingling spurs road off into the distance, the crash of a large wave drew my attention to the north.
In an instant, a vast ocean lay before me, with two gargantuan pirate ships locked in a timeless battle. One vessel boasted molten obsidian sails that billowed in the fierce wind, while the other bore silver railings and navy-blue draperies. Each crew’s raucous shouts harmonized with the thunderous roar of the cannon fire. Vibrations could be felt on the shoreline as a ballet of clashing cutlasses and gleaming falchions ensued.
But, as I stood in rapt awe, a spray of mist enshrouded me, whisking me back to the quiet Indiana coastline. The waves lapped gently at the shore, and the setting sun dipped below the horizon, igniting the sky in a blaze of oranges and pinks.
As I sat in quiet contemplation, the tranquil waves easing my heart, a faint image of a child appeared before me, chasing after some elusive treasure across the coastline. The mourning pang of a time long gone washed over me as I looked off into the distance, where treasures once within reach now remained shrouded in obscurity. But the child paused and turned towards me.
Their smile, a newfound treasure, forever etched into my memory.
Cutlasses and falchions are two types of single-edged swords that were used in Europe from the 13th to the 20th century.
Meet Nicholas Young, a transfer student from Newfoundland and Labrador. With his homeland never far from his heart, he seeks to explore the vast world of Psychology here at SIUE. His long-term goal is to become a clinical psychologist and conduct research that will improve societal support for those with mental illnesses. Outside his studies, Nicholas likes to orchestrate grand D&D adventures, embrace his inner writer, and get involved in school clubs and activities.