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Everything stops when I walk on the beach.  I arise because somehow my body knows it’s time to wake up in the dark. Sometimes it’s nature and sometimes it’s insomnia. Remnants of the past cling to me, but they are grains of sand now instead of rocks in my pocket or on my back.  I rise and drink water and say a little prayer of thanks for clean water, a roof and a dry floor where I will pace later.  I dress in the dark and choose to leave my phone behind, even though I know I will see a photo-worthy sunrise and will not be able to record it.  Is it really necessary now?  Not really.  Rumor has it there will be another one tomorrow.  I recall bits of dreams and will record them when I return.  So I pull on flannel pants and two more layers of shirts, slip my feet into sandals and walk on the cold sand inspecting last night’s high tide leavings, and everything stops without my bidding. It just *does.*   All the noise in my head from the time I woke to the time I heard the ocean breathing on the shore, it all just stops. I walked a long way and turned around before Werner’s* place.  You know Werner, the person who erected the fence from his backyard all the way down into the waterline, the one whose property you used to be able to cross at low tide, never at high tide unless you wanted to swim, who rebuilds his no-trespassing fences and signs after every storm.  I’m not mad at him for blocking access to a longer walk whenever I choose, but I am sad because he’s so fearful and angry that people might trod his sand on their way to a sunrise and nothing more.  Anger stops in the presence of waves.  Rational thinking arrives on the backs of casual dolphins feeding as they pass behind the breakwaters. Seems like Werner missed the memo.

Our new neighbor was drawn here.  I try not to disturb her morning meditations, but sometimes you just have to walk by and say “good morning.”  Yesterday as I walked down the balcony I saw dolphins loping and I ran down to the beach and was ready to start hollering “Dolphins! Dolphins!” to no one but seagulls but she was there, sitting  quietly with her hood up.  I stopped short and watched them go by in silence then took my walk.  On the way back I said hello and we spoke just a bit and when I got home I asked, “How is it, Universe, that you put a woman on the beach who was born in my neighborhood, a contemporary, in front of me? How can this happen? What does it mean?”  She came down here to celebrate her birthday and the dolphins obliged.  How is it that I got to witness a small part of this woman’s moment? Nobody lives at the beach and hates it.  We are drawn to water, to this sound, to this reckoning, and what a blessing, I just don’t have the words to describe it.  She celebrated her birthday with waves and dolphins, and I carry her vibe, still.

Everything stops, then everything begins in each and every wave. Some of us are knowing participants in the dance of the universe, of stars, fingers in the loam, toes in the foam, Huskies left alone in their crates who cry for their mothers, spiders who hear us, snakes who avoid us, those who dance in the sunset with nets and share their bounty. Some of us stand on dry land, resolute in facts and No Trespassing signs.  My cauldron embraces you all.

*name changed for privacy