After her divorce, Anna fled to a cottage by the sea.
Every day she wandered the shoreline, collecting shells and smooth-washed bones. She studied the wind-whipped language of the grasses, the sketches drawn by insects in the sand. She cataloged the birds that joined her: pelican, egret, sandlapper, tern.
When men happened by, she cataloged them as well: pretender, braggart, renegade, rogue. They flitted through the seasons, migrating, seeking a transitory perch. At first she offered them conversation, set out fresh water and food, but in time, she realized that all things must learn to thrive on their own.
Anna withdrew to the cottage, fluffed her pillows, and pampered herself with books and fine English teas. For the first time, she closed her shutters, and in the muffled surf, heard the sound of nature charting its next course.