Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life of a Shoreline

Bethany Beach in the Morning    08 Aug 2013

It used to be

It used to be that we came to this shoreline as the end of the earth
after we had traveled from one continent to
a people who shared the land with the elk, the buffalo, the deer
a people who sought a land where we could live in peace
the shoreline recalls the straight we crossed, a bridge of land and water
we roam the plains, we hunt the forests, we fish the streams and lakes and ponds
the sound of the waves is the only sound one can hear
that and the cry of the shorebirds
and the silence of the sanderlings in little packs
running this way and that
that's how it used to be

It used to be we came to this shoreline, seeking refuge from the storms
that raged on the home continent,
wars and rumors of war, religious persecution
seeking to see if the world really is round
seeking to trade, seeking commerce, seeking new visions
seeking freedom
greeted on this shoreline by those others   who   taught us
how to work the land, harvest the abundance
fish the streams and lakes and ponds
how to share the land and all that is therein
that's how it used to be

It used to be we were chained, packed into the holds of ships only to be
dumped along this shoreline     far     far      away from our ancestors
our families      our tribes     our                  homeland
 only to be sold, worked, whipped, sold again, warehoused,
only to learn of the white man's God and Jesus and Exodus
and dreams of freedom    dreams of home    dreams of return
wishing we had never seen this shoreline
wondering, if only we could make it back to the shoreline could we make it
all     the      way      back
that's how it used to be

It used to be we came to this shoreline to get away, get back, unplug,
listen only to the waves lapping  the tide running in running out
the gulls cry overhead, the sand blows, kites soar
we read books, we sleep, we check out we walk we run
a towel, a chair, an umbrella   is   all   we need
seeking a freedom from our everyday workaday worlds
we rest   unwind    remember    remember the sounds of the sea
the sounds of the water lapping in the womb     the origins of life in the sea
returning to the moment     the present     the now
that's how it used to be

Now we come to this same shoreline trudging with oversized wheeled carts loaded with
all the gear necessary for a day a week encamped on the beach
reclining folding chairs, wheeled coolers loaded with every kind of beverage
sandwiches, bags of chips, multiple umbrellas, towels, games with paddles
games with balls, games with games, electronic games
smart phones, iPads, tablets, laptops, ear-buds, Beats
plugged in listening to rock, to jazz, to classic, to NPR, to Rush, to ESPN
incapable anymore of leaving it all behind
incapable of letting go    incapable of returning to the moment
the now
no longer able to see the origins, the beginnings, the visions,
no longer able to hear the lapping of the waves, the tides running in
      running out
the gulls cry and no one is left to hear
it is a return to the chains
now chained to electrons coursing through wires
no longer surfing the waves but surfing an electronic web
waves driven through the air    sound waves, light waves
bits and bites we can no longer live without
multiple devices blocking our view
of the sea
the endless boundless timeless sea
that's how it used to be
how it used
to be

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