Emily

The sun casts a river of amber glitter atop the slow-moving waves lapping the side of my kayak, nudging me gradually out from shore. A large white sea lion eyes me from atop the rectangular dock a handful of yards away. I glance to my left and see your mother grinning while your son paddles their kayak from between her legs. To my right, near a leaning madrone on the water’s edge, I sense your presence. Not more than a dozen feet away is your daughter, the one I held just days after she was born, the same days during which you passed to the other side. She is accompanied by your best friend and her daughters, and they are wading into the sound, shrieking and laughing as the cold water shocks their bare calves.

Earlier that day we visited a bridge tucked into the woods beneath old growth doug firs, a place I understand you held dear and your children truly love. I watched them explore their surroundings, finding rocks, tossing sticks into the creek and gathering fern fronds to build with. I remember doing the same things with my sisters when I was a little girl.

It’s been five years since I saw your family, and since you left us. As I drove up the 101 North toward your yellow beach house by the sound, I had an overwhelming feeling that you were near. It was strange and magical, and I cried my way to the driveway before gathering myself to knock on the door. The weekend that followed was filled with stories and laughter and porch sitting; I even taught the kids how to hula hoop on the lawn. Your children carry your features on their faces, and the glimpses I caught of you made my heart ache and soar all at once. I miss you all over again and yet, I am comforted by spending time with your loved ones and learning about the corners of earth you treasured most.

At dusk, I sat in a white lounge chair gazing out at the two islands on the horizon, and as I scanned the water, drawing my eyes closer to the shoreline, I had to close and open them again, disbelieving what I saw. It was you – a faint outline of a woman’s profile with her hair down, the cool saltwater cupping her shoulders as she gazed out to sea. And then minutes later, a flicker of light danced across the water beneath the sinking sun, and it was an orange buoy bobbing on the waves. But I’ll never forget that image of you skinny dipping at sunset in the place where I’ve been told you felt free and comforted all your life by nature, family, friends and traditions.

I want to think of you now like this poem reads – resting ashore where you are surrounded by the salt, soil, air and trees of your childhood; safe, at peace, having arrived at last.

On this wondrous sea
Sailing silently,
Ho! Pilot, ho!
Knowest thou the shore
Where no breakers roar—
Where the storm is o’er?

In the peaceful west
Many the sails at rest—
The anchors fast—
Thither I pilot thee—
Land Ho! Eternity!
Ashore at last!

-Emily Dickensen

 

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Wind Mountain

Whale belly white

talus clanks underfoot

like brittle bones of

a xylophone;

an ancient song

from a mountain’s tongue

lying atop layers of

soil and needle.

 

There’s a story here

where they quested

for Spirit

on the ridge

under a snowy blanket of stars.

 

The Doug Firs whir

with the sudden rushing wind.

Overhead, a bald eagle peers

into the treetops.

 

We’re a tiny page

of a great big book;

passing clouds casting

shadows across the valley floor.

 

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The Falcon

Does the falcon
see me
whirring by
beneath its great talons?

Would it have any way of knowing
I see it
every morning
like a spirit guardian,
like a guide from some other world?

Perhaps the falcon represents some entity
I have yet to know –
or nothing meaningful at all.
Still,
I’d rather it be her

(the one we lost)

keeping a watchful gaze
as I drive to work
beneath the gooseneck lamp post,
urging me onward

deeper still
into the forest
of my waiting dreams.

Saying:
don’t forget the wild;
don’t forget who you are.

 Photo credit: Pixabay.com


Photo credit: Pixabay.com