It’s Not Often

In the canoe, in my heart, the dark of her curls blend with the gold of sunrise.

With water glassy we paddle, unison’s time, rhythm’s endearing.

Over her shoulder she smiles. Hope leaps. Love pains at future’s parting.

It’s not often colors blend such as these.

Mercurial silver of water. Hazel of eye. Red of lips.

It’s not often to welcome falling into depths like those below …

… when she must leave.

 

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Mornings

Mornings are variety

With sun edging over horizons, red then orange then yellow bursts through white or gray or nothing at all,

Only blue.

Mornings can happen over oceans, bays, sounds, lakes, river, streams,

And even creeks.

They can happen over emerald fields of wheat, over shadowed desert sands, over forest and valley and mountain.

Mornings are minted daily,

New with fresh, breezy breaths or sultry, humid doldrums or with glistening dew on blades of grass.

Enjoy mornings. Revel in them. Allow their touch and tease and laugh to slip inside with each warm and golden sunbeam.

For mornings are these things and so much more.

Surely you have mornings of your own.

Be a morning.

All The While Settling Onto Beauty

A flickering fluttering triangle of wing and body

Colors blurring, wind carrying aloft

During the seeking

Her goal, her sole existence is to feed for growing

To lay eggs for living

To continue the cycle endlessly

Of newness

Caterpillar

Chrysalis

Oh, what life to live

Flying on current’s edge

Constantly in hazard’s way

All the while settling onto

Beauty

Of leaf and petal

Of scent and color

Kissed with dewdrops left by

The Morning.

 

I Might Imagine

I might imagine, or I might not, that love is a smile beneath a small straight nose, deep brown eyes, and dark chocolate tresses falling around my face as she sits above me.

I might imagine, or I might not, that over her head, green leaves laugh in the summer breeze, and lake waves lap whispers against round stones.

I might imagine, or I might not, a soft kiss, moist and tender, warm upon my lips, and the brush of fingertips at my brow, with words of welcome.

I might imagine, or I might not, a mountain trail, rough with stones for tripping, slow with time for talking, waterfalls crisp with splashing, and the summit for rest.

I might imagine, or I might not, two sets of footprints pressed into wet sand, hands clasped, sun overhead, and at night, stars.

But I shall not imagine, for I could imagine more that would not be imagining, for I am thankful, grateful more than I can say, reaching for her hand over twenty years hence from dreaming, and still we laugh, sigh, love.

And we imagine.

Learning Curve

A blur of wings, and the struggling landing

A tentative grasp on  small, green squares

Fearful fluttering, puzzled glances

And a flight to a near perch for considering

Hints of blue on wings, spotty orange fluff on a puffed breast

Charcoal-gray head twisting

A sibling lands, lesser colors, a sister, and snatches a tidbit, and snacks.

More puzzled looks, a twisting head, eyes asking,

“How’d you do that?”

He tries again, wings frantic, Y’d feet clutching,

then settles despite suet block swinging.

And tastes breakfast.

Learning curve.

 

When I Died

When I died I fell face first into the snow, oh, the icy crust, the millions of tiny crystalline knives.

When I coughed my lung’s bright blood upon the blanket of white, I realized I would never see her again.

When I realized I would never see her again, I willed my heart to beat, though powerless to have it beat forever.

When my breaths slowed, stopped, and when my heart faltered, stopped, and when my eyes closed, I willed my soul to join another …

And he fell, and another, and he fell, and another, and she fell, and half-a century later I live, a mist, a memory, a dream desired, a hope unrealized.

And yet, I love, and yet, life offers me hope, if only in the most fleeting moments.

Once we lay beneath an oak. It was an ancient thing, gnarled and gray-barked, branches hanging low over the wide river, leaves twisting in the daytime breeze, whispers of young love’s yearning desire.

And natures faint aromas, the gray smell of water on the air, leaf mold and earthy hints of times past, and her hair, as if she rinsed her silky strands with morning rain captured just for her within the petals of a rose.

And at night, oh, at night, beside the fire, millions of stars, constellations, a meteor’s dim minute streak, the oak’s leaves aflutter, matching moth’s wing beats around a lantern.

The stuff of dreams, the dreams of hope, soft whispers, softer kisses, love’s final goodbye.

When I died.

And on the Souls. Poetry.

The silver fishes dance

and waves break

and pelicans wheel

turning into wing-driven darts that

dive beneath foamy crests.

A gull’s complaint.

And sand that is warm on

the soles.

And on the Souls.

Air heavy

salt-laden taste.

Children’s footprints and mother’s laughter

with father’s smiles.

And the surf meets

with gentle whispering breaths.

And the silver fishes dance.

 

And It All Turns to Ashes poetry

Individually they

flutter

together a curtain drawn

to be amazed by.

Nature often gives

and takes away;

it often shares the simplest of scenes

which gifts us a

calm smile

enjoying the vivid white brightness

perhaps the scarlet blood drop of a cardinal

on the feeder or

the woodpecker’s vivid bonnet.

then the flakes slow

a scattering against

lifting clouds

and as the sunlight breaks through

it all turns to ashes.

A Revisit. Weathering the Storm

I originally posted this back in the spring when the weather began to break, the days warmed, and thoughts of the ocean crept into my mind. Recently I took a look at this story and decided to spruce it up a tad and re-post.
Even though it was one of my earlier works, I enjoy it a great deal, and perhaps you, the reader, or the new reader, will enjoy it also.

Spring, 2015
I had a thought yesterday morning, and strange as it might be, it was what if a single grain of sand on a beach were a conscious being. Imagine all it would see, but also, all it would wish and hope for.
My own father died at fifty-eight from cancer and my mother in 2012 at seventy-seven. They dearly loved the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and that love also influences this story.
Then there is the sad influence of cancer and what it takes from those suffering from it and from those that lose friends and loved ones to it.
This is dedicated to all those touched in one way or another by this terrible disease.
J.

Weathering the Storm

Once, on a wide, windswept beach, there existed a single grain of sand. To see it lying there among all the rest you’d never know it was any different, or special in any way at all, but it was.
For eons it remained on this beach, rarely staying in the same location. Hurricanes, Nor’easters, the tides, and the wind kept it in constant motion, sometimes covering it and sometimes revealing it to sunrises and starry nights. And even though each sunrise promised a new day and new experiences, depending on the season, the stars were its preferred thing to see. It loved to watch the endless, winking, pinpoints of light as they rotated across the night sky, and it often wondered if their existence were anything like being a grain of sand.
Summer was its favorite season. Children came with small plastic shovels and pails to dig and to run and to laugh on and around the grain, and this was the closest it ever came to the simple joy of play or friendship. But soon they would leave, dragging their toys and memories along with them, and the grain of sand wished its existence was like theirs and nothing like being a spec of worn seashell on a lonely beach.
In fact, it had never met a spec similar to itself, just those that looked the same, but never bothering to ask questions or ponder their existence. They merely were, and were nothing else, never caring to know if they could be anything more.
One moonlit night, after a September tide resurrected the grain from its hurricane grave, a young woman walked out onto the beach, and she happened to sit beside the grain. She sat quietly, burying her feet in the sand, and a moment later she scooped the listening and watching grain up in her hands, along with hundreds of thousands of other grains that were sadly oblivious to being discovered and to discovering.
Looking into her hands, she smiled, then spoke. “Hello, there my friends, I have missed you. I hope the wind and tides have not been too harsh while I was away as life has been with me.”
The tiny grain wished at this moment, more than any other, that it could speak. Even though it had never seen this woman it wanted desperately to reply, I missed you also, and though the wind and tides move me about, it is no great bother. Please tell me how life has been with you?
Of course, it could not, but the hope remained.
The single special grain felt the warmth of the woman’s hands and it never knew such closeness with another being. She leaned close and sniffed, and the single grain among all the rest managed to catch her aroma.
“I love that sweet, salty smell,” she said, and then she whispered, “Would you believe something smaller than one of you could make something as large as me sick? And so sick that I could die? It’s the truth, but I wish it weren’t. That small thing is called cancer, and it took my mother and my father, and it’s trying to take me too.”
The grain blinked, and salty water squeezed from its tiny pores, its version of tears.
“But I’m not going to give in,” the woman said. “I’m entirely too young to leave this world, don’t you think?”
The grain nodded, the movement measurable only on a microscopic scale, and it began to believe that there were worse things to be than a grain of sand, such as this thing called cancer.
The woman raised her head to look at the moon and stars, the scarf around her head whipping in the wind. “Sometimes … sometimes I wish I were a grain of sand …”
Her gaze moved back to the sand in her hands. “So how is it? To be one of you? You never get sick or lose a loved one. You get to see every single sunrise and starry night. And you even get to live through hurricanes without a scratch. How I envy you …”
Even if at this very moment it was given the gift of speech, the tiny grain had no idea what it might offer. For so long all its hopes and wishes had been for itself, and now it found itself wishing and hoping this woman could have her own dreams come true.
Finally, she left, and the grain resumed its life on the beach, much of it spent pondering the woman and what her fate might have been.
###
One June evening, just as the sun was settling itself into the sound behind the barrier island, a group of people filed out between the dunes. One man carried a container resembling a beach pail, and two children walked to his left, hand in hand, one clutching the man’s hand.
The vacation season was in full swing and the grain had had a busy day. It was now ready for a quiet night of stargazing, but halted its thoughts as the group walked to where it lay among all the other specs and bits of shell and around it.
The man removed the lid from the container, reached in, then took a handful of something, and the children did the same. Suddenly they threw what was in their hands into the wind and fine particles mixed with the flowing tide of air and escaped to the heavens, and a very few drifted down to lay beside the grain of sand.
It recognized the aroma of his friend—the only friend it ever had—and salty tears squeezed from its pores as it realized she now knew what it was like to be a grain of sand, but not like him at all. Now she would be part of a larger whole, and she would see every sunrise and starry night, and she would never be bothered again with the weathering of any storm for all her existence to come.

Warm, Wet, Sand. A short story.

The sea oats brushed against her bare shoulder, tanned, lithe, and she stepped out onto the beach, the sand hot against the soles of her feet. She dropped her sandals and slid them on and looked at him.

“You’re going to need your shoes soon.”

He walked faster. “I’ll be okay.”

“I warned you.”

The sun was a singular point of magnified warmth in the sky. Waves of heat rose from the long stretches of sand on either side of them as they hurried to the water.

He stopped and sat on the cooler, holding his feet above the sand.

“I told you you’d need your shoes.”

He stared up at her. Her sunglasses reflected his expression and her floppy hat shaded her face. “What can I say,” he said. “You were right.”

“Aren’t I always?”

“No one is always right.”

“But I’ve got a good record, you’d agree.”

He got up from the cooler, ready to make a run for it. “Yes. I’ll admit that. Let’s go.”

He took about five more steps, stopped again and got on the cooler and fanned his feet, their soles almost as red as the steamed crab they ate last night.

“Geez,” he said. “I should have worn my shoes.”

She smiled down at him from under the hat. “Where have I heard that before?”

He glanced up, a half-smile at the corners of his mouth. “You know how much I love you, don’t you?”

She shook her head. “Yes, but I’m not giving up my sandals.”

“You won’t even consider it? Not for just a few steps until I can get my feet in the water?”

“You like my feet,” she said. “Do you want to see them looking like yours?”

He thought for a moment. “You’re right. When we go to dinner later, I’d like to see you wearing those sexy high heels you bought this morning without your feet looking like they had been microwaved.”

“I thought you’d see it my way.”

He got up and started off again, faster this time, his multicolored swim shorts swishing about his legs, but he soon stopped and jumped back onto the cooler. He considered putting his feet inside but didn’t care to dirty their ice.

“You could wrap your feet in the towels,” she said.

“I don’t want to get them dirty. We’re going to lie on them in a few minutes.”

“Okay. It was just a suggestion, Mr. lobster feet.”

He glanced up at her and smiled.

She felt sorry for him, but she wasn’t about to give up her shoes.

A few moments later, they were off again, running toward the waves, each with a hand on a cooler handle and each hopping on one sandal a piece.

Isn’t love grand, whether standing, sitting, or running together toward the warm, wet sand?