A Boat Story by Hossi

I visited the ocean once on a day that was calm and still. It was early, and the day had the virgin texture of new stationary. Two old men were working together by the water. They sang a song that I had never heard, in a language with words that were square pegs in the round holes of my ears.

The taller of the men walked waist deep in the water. He was carrying a calico bag. He was picking up the shards of light that the sun had thrown onto the surface of the ocean, and carelessly throwing then into his bag. "Hunna Hoona Hopp Hopp" he sang melodiously. He didn't seem to care if he missed the bag. There was 245,830 pieces of light around him, and those that missed the bag floated.

Back on the shore his companion was sewing. For thread he had the sound of the seagulls that complained from above. He had carefully spread out on the sand sheets of the hissing sound that exhausted waves make as they retreat from the shore having spent themselves. He was making a sail. It dawned on me that the men were building a boat.

"Hunna Hoona Hopp Hopp" they sang. Whenever a colossal wave crashed they scurried to heave the explosive noise of water on sand to dry land. They groaned and grunted through their song, bending this crashing sound to form the planks of their craft. The taller man reached into his calico bag and used the light he had gathered as nails. He hammered them into the boards of noise with a shell.

A geyser of water erupted way off shore - a whale surfacing to breathe. The old men jumped up and down with excitement and waited for the lazy noise to reach them. When it did they fastened it to the bottom of the craft as a keel. There was some of this majestic sound left over, and it was thriftily fashioned it into a mast. They fixed their sail and tensioned it with more fibrous cries from the gulls.

Now that the boat was built their pace slowed and they set about decorating the vessel. As everyone knows, seashells contain the sound of the ocean. Not many people know however what fine paint this resonance makes. The men sang at a more sombre tempo "Hunna Hoona Hopp Hopp", dipping seaweed paintbrushes into various shells. Once the hum from the shells was dry they boarded the craft and set sail. I could still hear their song long after they had vanished from sight.

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