Scarred hands. Wrinkled skin. Muscles chiseled hard from constant exertion. The marks of the sand diver, his shadow, a stark silhouette against the morning sun.
He raises the liquor to his lips for a quick dram, as he and the others prepare to soak the lagoon with their sweat, dredging up the sands that build the city. Up and down he goes, in random rhythm, head breaking the water, followed by heavy wet sand. Load after load, they work under the sun, as it makes its way to its zenith, and does nothing for their ebbing endurance.
The wind takes them home. Not too fast they hope, for the boats are low slung in the water, their reward hanging in the balance. They’ve filled their vessels as full as they dare, mere inches are all that separate meager payoff from total loss. It is part of this hard life, risk with a good dose of equanimity. They will their vessels onward to the shore, where the tippers and buyers wait to bear their burden away.
Their sand will feed the growing, insatiable city. But the concrete jungle always demands more. More sweat, more toil…more sand. So they will sail again tomorrow, silent flotilla on the lagoon, rice sack sails flapping, steered by the proud hands of the sand diver.