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taylors mistake

Taylors Mistake - a beach no doubt named after some fatal or non-fatal lapse of judgement, a misreading of the tide, or a misreading of the map, landing some old settler on the wrong stretch of sand. A local story long forgotten by the living, but kept alive by the name, carved into the peninsula, solid as the cliffs. I keep telling myself I'll look it up, find out who Taylor was and what he did wrong, but even now with the search bar in front of me, I don't. I want to leave it a bit longer, to stay not knowing.

Today I'm once again looking at lines in the sand - real, physical ones, and not just symbolic, though they probably symbolise something; everything does.

These lines are impressively geometric and are being cut by a teenage lad, watched by his girlfriend who may be impressed or bored or something else entirely. The lines go vertically all the way down the beach, then horizontal for a few feet, then back up; a repeating, right-angled pattern that reminds me of the square wave of a synthesizer.

The couple have a camera on a tripod, maybe to capture the design once it's finished, preserving the image before the sea takes it away again, or to record the hurried making of it. The act of digging those straight trenches feels noteworthy. I'm noting them down, so why wouldn't they want to record it in some way themselves?

At the side of the cove sits a small, possibly vacant beach house, tucked just out of reach beyond a wall of tired, native shrub. Unlike most of the buildings here it seems primarily fashioned out of clay and brick, and there are rectilinear designs carved into its outer walls, not dissimilar to those being drawn in the sand only a few hundred metres away. I wonder how they might be linked - did the young lad see that strange beach house as he and his partner climbed down from the headland? Are they staying there for the weekend? Does one of their families own it? Or is there just something about this bay that guides the mind and the hand towards straight lines, despite the chaotic profusion of rock and surf?

I imagine tiny creatures living in those perpendicular trenches on the shore, glistening but invisible to the naked eye, never appearing in photographs or video footage. The only way you can see them is by lowering your gaze as close to the sand as possible, and even then nothing is guaranteed. No one can count the number of legs they might have.

a memory of Te Onepoto 020723