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Travel Writing 2017 Application

Comet Point 2017

A place I’ll never forget

Nancy Cunliffe


As I passed a graveyard that sat between two forks of the road, I wanted to stop. I wanted to sit down and rest and look at the graves with their little engravings of Jesus and Mary, the candles that burned quietly and all the flowers that decorated the place. They make a big deal out of death in Mexico.

Nevertheless, time was marching on and I had to reach Punta Cometa before the sun sank into the sea.

‘Comet Point’ – an outcrop of land, covered in cacti and finished off with rocks on the Oaxacan coast. The tail end of the rocks form the shape of a hand with index finger outstretched as if pointing South. If a crow flew out from that rocky finger and travelled straight, as crows apparently do, then it would not see land until it reached the Antarctic.

It took me about an hour to walk to the place. When I finally got there, I could see the whole ocean. I could see all the way south, as well as east and west. The sun was nearing the horizon so I found myself a westward facing mound of sand to sit on.

Well, I sat there on my own watching crabs burrowing their holes in the sand and I waited for the sunset. The wind was blowing oceanic waves towards me and the air was fresh in my nostrils. The colours of the sky were amazing.

Yet, I was impatient. Its hard to surrender to the tempo of the spheres when our lives are so bound up in schedules and deadlines. I felt so irritated by the whole beautiful thing that I would have left before sundown if I hadn’t have worked up such a sweat getting there.

I decided I would wait it out. I would wait for the goddam sunset then get off back to the bar for a beer. It was the waiting that did it. It cracked my little heart open. I was waiting for the sun and it wasn’t rushing on my account.

The Sun does not rush and the Earth does not rush. No matter if I railed against it or not, the sun was sinking, unhurried, and a few hours later it would be setting somewhere else.

As the orange sphere turned into a semi circle and the semi circle got smaller and lower, I felt a melancholy feeling in my chest until finally the last slither of sunlight disappeared like a match being extinguished by the sea water.

A grainy dusk descended and it was time to leave the beach, back up the hill that lay overhead, back past the candles that burned for the dead then a few cold beers before going to bed.

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