Tuesday, August 18, 2015

of rock, of water, of life

the ocean is an introverted friend

plate tectonics create the upthrust of California
and allow the rock of the land
to butt up against the sea as boulder and mountain,
the Pacific is a great ocean
whose heat inertia moderates the temperature
and whose moisture slips over the land
to, in good times, settle onto the mountains as snow,
whose melting flows enough to keep cities and farms going,

like an introverted friend, we can like the ocean and yet miss its depths,
we find a beach where seals slip around the jettying rocks and drifting kelp,
feasting on the fish we can’t see,
one seal rises up out of the salt water enough
to look us square in the eye,

and my camera’s ready to hold that moment,

another day low tide comes early 
so we rise in the dark 
and make our way to Endert’s Beach outside Crescent City, CA,
(gateway to Jedediah Smith State Park, home of giant coastal redwoods),

tidal pools!  where enduring rock allows some marine life to hold fast and anchor,
and survive the short time each day the ocean retreats:
a lot of sea anemone, whose green open tendrils draw us,

sea stars who mold themselves to the stone
and excite the artist within us who loves the shapes life creates
upon the strata it is given,

too many sea stars obviously succumb to parasites
and their corpses plague our hopefulness,
birds love the opportunity here:
the oystercatcher,

sea gulls who pose on the rock
and wait for an incautious hunting crab to reveal itself,

two gray herons likewise hope for a treat,
and leave, with some attitude, as we come near,
a heron into flight lifts the spirits.

by Henry H. Walker
August 15, ‘15

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