Beneath the shore’s salty crust, under its acres of crushed shell and beaten rock, there are the remains of a building. Beyond the masses of kelp that spread across the beach like bodies – reeking of life and iodine – there are the fossils of a forgotten design: a distant, watery symbolism. Below the beached relics of destroyed breakwaters, architecture born of aquatic mystery rippled and sprawled.
Columns that undulated with nacre glistened in their burial-place. There were arches made from the curving bones of fishes. Their tiny, delicate threads were evocative of lives spent weaving through the currents. Scallops – their blue eyes closed long ago – decorated windows and doors. When the building was alive, they would bob and bow like joyous fans: welcoming any visitors who had made the pilgrimage there.
The walls were covered with scales – thin, painted currency of the ocean. Tiles the colors of foam and tide created an aquatic mosaic that bounded across the now submerged barriers like ships. Pearl and lavender, turquoise and jade, bronze and indigo – the hidden rooms had been built in the ocean’s moon-ridden image.
But during the course of forgotten years, the earth had shrugged and shifted; as unwilling to keep still as any child. The building sunk beneath the collapsing groundwork; its pelagic architecture suffocated by the unyielding geography. It descended beyond the blue fog and the breath of the fishes. It fell until it was beyond the reach of the marine air, thick with the cries of birds that embroidered its fabric with tales of hunting and horizons.
Hidden under the rubble, it was a broken and cryptic secret. Errant footsteps scuffed its enameled ceiling, the painted witness to a forgotten court. In places the ancient color bloomed out of the ground like shattered flowers. A reward for imaginations that wander, a glint that beckons from the corner of the eye, it preserves the lustrous temptation of a world that exists, though it is hidden.