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June 13, 2004

rocks in the sea

This evening I went cycling round the island, to make up for having spent most of the day indoors, and to drive off the caffeine shakes. Today was a particularly hazy day, and when it gets hazy, the Okinawan mainland – usually clearly visible on the horizon – disappears, and the island seems much more remote than usual. Often when the haze comes it’s uncomfortably humid, but today it was more like a mist, and the temperature was just right – cooler than the afternoon, but still warm. The kind of warmth that leaves you with a thin layer of sweat that’s pleasantly cooling but doesn’t soak into your clothes. The haze amplified the smell of damp vegetation, turned the setting sun into a warm red disc, and smudged all the hills smooth and pastel blue. I cycled down empty roads, past typhoon-battered sugar cane, and apart from a single car in the distance, all I heard were insects and birds. When I got to the sea, it was as pond-still as I’ve ever seen it, and there was no horizon – just haze and grey silhouetted rocks a few hundred metres out, at the edge of the reef.

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