The burdens followed over
the many miles, down each road,
through every traffic jam, waiting out
each stop, arriving with us and joining
us in our room, refusing to loose
their hold on the one who served them.
They wavered a bit, shimmering
behind the veil of the humid air,
recoiling somewhat when faced
with the glare of beach sand
and the onslaught of crashing waves,
but would not release their control.
Shoulders retain the tension
stored for so long in those
muscles, eyes — unaccustomed
to natural light — in a constant
squint, ever present people
an irritant, routine disrupted.
The sand…it is everywhere
and on everything, a gritty nuisance,
matched only by the heat
and the encroachment of waves.
The screech of other people’s children
stabs into my brain.
The morning is lethargic,
no alarm to jump-start adrenaline,
coffee still follows, but it takes
the form of leisurely activity
instead of an addict’s need, sipped while
watching clouds instead of screens.
The walk to the beach is not
so long today, the sting
of the sun on skin begins
to feel…normal. Amidst the background
noise of Jimmy Buffett, seagulls
and surf, I find my family.
to be found
in children’s voices,
lifted in delight
at the sight of seagulls,
trilling their own sort of song
chasing the birds across the sand.
Laugh and join with them in their pursuit,
remember what is often left behind.
There is comfort to be found
in the sand, something symbolic
in the way it clings to skin,
how it is cooler underneath
than on the surface,
the subtle color variations at the tide mark,
how it slips from beneath your feat
when you attempt to stand
before the tide,
and how the dune flowers bloom
in the gritty soil.
I place my chair
at the water’s edge,
let the waves wash over my feat,
a part of the ocean
instead of an opponent.
The waves come and go,
in constant trade with the shore.
Leave more than you take.