The Sound Of Surf In Taghazout

Taghazout, Morocco - March 2009

My sleep last night was calm and restful and I awoke at dawn to the sound of the Muezzin chanting. “Allahu Akbar,” came the siren call, over and over again into the weak light of daybreak. The waves crashing behind our flat created heavy white noise that the anonymous voice floated over on the lightest current of wind. I put on my shoes and walked down a debris-laden street, past dusty parked cars standing sentinel over the waters below.

At the end of the path was the Panorama Surf shop, where we had rented our boards the day before. My arms were still sore, my ribs tender from the pressure of leaning into composite plastic for hours on end. Steps carved roughly into the rocks led to a collection of tide pools encrusted in barnacles; soft green sea grass held still minus the disruptive force of waves pouring over the edge. I tiptoed around the rocks and up a narrow trail back uphill, walking through an empty lot full of dust and pebbles. Then the trail turned downward and crossed through stands of prickly pear and thorny brambles, with shards of green glass from broken glass bottles littering the ground.

A shallow cover of reddish dirt carpeted the ground and my shoes sank softly down the path; the beach spread out beyond me and continued south, the towering industrial cranes of Agadir protruding from the distant hills. Sets of short waves pushed lazily toward the shore, small humps on an uninterrupted plane of glass.

I emerged onto the beachhead and walked parallel to the water’s edge. Gulls with mottled brown feathers took flight around me, but not for long. In the early morning hours the wind had yet to pick up and when I stopped walking all was quiet but for the occasional car passing on the road up the hill from the shore. The roar would echo across the hilltops, dissipating into ever finer droplets of sound.

There was a slight rushing noise, then a hiss as whitewater gently raked over the sand. It came to rest near my feet, alluringly reflective and clear, before the sea leaned back and pulled it away. The tide was low and the waves were breaking no more than twenty meters from shore, small righthand barrels that were mostly bright green but with patches of light brown sediment mixing with the white sea foam.

I was lost in thought and must have walked along the shore for another twenty minutes when I realized I was remembering our walks together in Biarritz, and about her—her perfect blue eyes, the grasp of her hand in mine, the way the wind blew her hair back.

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