#Write30 June 3 – Beachwalk Notes from a Week in May 2012

I knew when I put my pajamas on at 8:30 on Friday that I was probably going to fall asleep before writing or revisiting anything. And I was right.  But I don’t want to skip the project I started that day, which was revisiting some of the notes I have in my phone.

I came across a series of notes from 2012 titled only by date. At the time I was living in Ortley Beach. It was pre-Sandy. A time of active seeking (as I hope all times are, but they are not).  I don’t think I intended to write them in poetic form, but they came out that way.

Maybe that’s the best form for seeking.

I have put a few together here, with very loose stitches and a few little patches.


Sometimes I think if I could go out far enough
And look back
Like maybe from the deck of that fishing boat out there
I could see enough
To make sense of things

I know that’s not really true,
But looking out to the horizon it seems for a minute
like it could be

And sanity would be a really good excuse
To buy a boat.

Some days the beachwalk is harder
Than others

Even when it’s over the same stretch
I’ve walked 100 times
At least

I keep walking
Because the beach, and maybe the walk, always tells me something
I need to know
Someone has walked along this tideline
Not long before I arrived
I mean this exact same line
Separating dry sand
From the last encroachment of the retreating tide
Still damp
And with fresh footprints
Two sets
I don’t know if they were together
But I can tell where they stopped
And picked up something to examine
To keep or toss back
I still find treasures
They missed.

Or am I looking for something different?
Seems I’m always looking for something different.

Sometimes I find something beautiful
And I joy in it.
Turn it around in my hand
And my head
Taking it in
Then putting it back
For someone else to find and revel in.
Like the lucky pennies I find in parking lots
And leave
For someone who needs the luck
More than I do.
A small, stoop shouldered woman examining the sand at her feet.
In shelling stance
She could be my grandmother, if she were here.
She’s not.
At least not in the physical.
Feet bravely planted
The icy May wavelets lapping at her ankles
She stands her ground against the incoming tide
In the battle for sandy treasures
Neither of them is willing to surrender


Low tide sunset
There is a dead bird –
I’ve seen it 3 times now, and it shocks me
just as much when I know it’s there as it did the first time I came upon it.
I wonder why that is.
I think maybe it’s a snow goose that wore out
before it got home from its long migration

The beach is wide and flat tonight
Streams of ocean that seem to have been stranded are running back home in rivulets through the sand.
Or maybe they are bringing back more ocean
to join in making a tidepool.

How can this be the same beach as yesterday? The one at high tide with the huge and perfectly curling waves?
The same things are so different. And different again.

It’s water that makes it rough
And water that makes it smooth

Fisherman in the fog and
Then a beautiful barefoot boy I don’t know smiles and waves.
Not because he thought he knew me.
Just because we were sharing the same spot of sand
along the line
that stretches to where the horizon disappears into the fog,
and then keeps going hidden from view.

Walking back, singing loudly, I smile wondering
Am I ever the character actor in someone else’s beachwalk notes?
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