Nevertheless, time was marching on and I had to reach Punta Cometa before the sun sank into the sea. Punta Cometa – what a lovely name.
I get quite taken by names. I especially love the names of places I’ve never been to. I think that maybe this is because once I visit a place it rarely lives up to what I imagined it could be. Punta Cometa, a beach on the south coast of Mexico, does not fall into that category. I had few positive expectations, so it easily exceeded all of them. I don’t think I should ever like to return, however.
It is an outcrop of land, covered in cacti and finished off with rocks. The very tail end of the rocks forms 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 had taken me about an hour to find the place and I’d almost gone the wrong way several times.
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.
Now I must mention my hatred of sentimentality. Anything that may be deemed to be beautiful and romantic I try and ruin, in the same way that I always start swearing when I’m at a dinner party.
I sat there for a time, waiting for the sun to disappear - I wondered why I’d bothered. The only other people in the vicinity were a couple who were somewhere down the other end of the beach from me. They were obviously ‘in love’ and the fact that they were sharing a romantic moment with the sunset made me want to die. Although I was trying to enjoy the wonder of sunset (an act which does require some degree of the poetic spirit) I felt smug in my pragmatism as I forsaw a day when that couple’s love would fall apart and render this moment meaningless for them.
Well, I sat there on my own watching crabs burrowing their holes in the sand. The wind was blowing oceanic waves towards me and the air was fresh in my nostrils. The colour of the sky was amazing. I was impatient for the sun to get on with it so I could go for a drink. I felt so irritated by the whole beautiful thing that I would have left pre-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 bloody 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. The sun is always setting somewhere. In the same way, it is always rising. Sunsets are remarkable because they do not last forever. The sun is constantly creating scenes of unsurpassed splendour and this is the case whether a person trying to deny its beauty is watching it, or not. I sat there on my sandy mound and I felt apologetic towards myself.
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 more beers before going to bed.