I find treasures on the beach all the time.
They inform me, tell me about myself, in how
and what they cause me to remember, where
I stood and what I was doing. That first shell,
sea glass, sand dollar, calls to mind other beaches.
The Atlantic ocean’s shore, when I first saw that
vast expanse of mystery. How I ran toward it
and into it. Never understanding the waves’ power,
without worry that I was only six and didn’t have
a clue I needed to know how to swim. It’s not that
I trusted my parents, my aunt and uncle, who I
remember being there, though it may not be true.
I trusted the world, the sky, the water, the awe
of the immensity I saw before me and how it
called to me on a level far deeper than I knew.
Deeper than I know today, though I have
lived sixty-five years of time and memory since.
Now, I look for signs, omens, clutching them
though I know they may be meaningless. Multiple
numbers, repeating digits, sun signs, moon signs, fires,
runes, and bones. I’ve cast coins, thrown yarrow sticks,
read wisdom from the Book of the Dead and in
the books of the living, while trying to find and write
my sacred truth, though it remains hidden in the fog,
the dark? Sometimes, I think I’ve walked through life
with my eyes closed, my ears plugged, deaf
and blind. Mute, though I scream as often and loudly
as I’m able. Yet I know the inexorable rhythms
of the ocean, the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun,
circadian and sidereal, in ways I knew as a child,
before any formal, societal or street education.
Adult life has caused me to unlearn my first wizardry;
a concept and power all children claim as their birthright.
The mystery that underlies creation, which allowed
me to conceive and create anything from anything.
An empty box, which might become a fort or a starship,
I called a rocket when I was a boy. Tall, slender, rising,
to a point with landing fins and an exhaust cone that
belched fire. In high school English, a senior, bored and
ready to move into life, I would draw rockets on my cigarettes.
The white paper blackened with holes left to represent
stars and their distant worlds, which I had come
to imagine from my voyages into reading. I smoked
my art afterward, which I’m sure wasn’t healthy. Was I
searching for the magic etched by fire, consumed in smoke?
Ash-strewn visions of the aliens and shamans I found in
science fiction and fantasy. Anticipating the sorcery of our
ornery souls, which swim in darkness as rich as dark chocolate
cake, the thick, creamy chocolate icing on top. The sweetness
in my mouth and the joy of the stolen fingerful that I
escaped with, avoiding the risk of the wooden spoon cracking
against my fingers. All that I and we lost, seems to me,
to contain the thrill of the unknown, silenced by fear of the pain
they promised us we would face in this life or the next one.
I urge you to run, laugh, capture the wind. I will fill myself
with breath and share this brief time alone and together to live.
Bathe in joy whenever I’m able. Sorrow and pain will always
find us and will teach us to be wise, if we will open
our hearts and do our best to share our love forever.