This story is adapted from the forthcoming book WARMTH, which will be published by Penguin Books in August.
There is no marked trail leading north from the town of Broome, Australia. There is only the beach, deep red and wide as a highway. On our first day of hiking, it seems to divulge a path of its own, our footfalls pressing moisture from the sand, forming little parched perimeters, like paving stones that appear as we walk. Sometimes the dynamics of this saturation are so complex and inscrutable that our strides unsettle sand that is several meters away, so that with each step we see little bursts of light up ahead of us, wherever the water is wicking through the grains.
To the extent that it’s known at all, this remote region of northwestern Australia is known for its beautiful sunsets, though it’s the moments just afterward that afford the true spectacle. After the sun disappears but before its light has fully left the sky — when the palette above the horizon mimics exactly the palette below and the radiance along its seam fades outward into the blackness of night and of dirt — it is possible to experience that old hackneyed sensat... Read more