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The year many of our beach dogs died. The year humans reclaimed the beach from weather, tacking on 20 feet and taking away sandbars. The year of travel. Of making friends. Reclaiming silence, peace, writing, reading. Self.

September is coming. It begins my season of change. The world celebrates New Year’s as the new, like one big, happy, unbloody period, but September always felt like the real chapter for me. I feel September coming as I sort the ingredients of last year. So many sleepless nights. So many sunrise and sunsets. Countless wave sounds to catalog with mere words. Empty shells and sea glass have become homes for hermit crabs and the sea glass is rarer now. Great herds of seaweed would beach themselves and reek on the shore until they dried out to become part of the sand, but not now.  I know the wind now. I understand the lightning a little more. I am free with the truth because I have nothing to lose.  I write. I will always write. I have a vision to build a body of work so that I can publish something with some meat on the bones, something people will like at least, or remember, at most.

I think back on those times I left home to see Iron Maiden and friends for a few days. There was a plan for a meetup. A hotel. Sightseeing for a little while. A tavern for dinner, a hole in the wall for the tribute band to play the night before. Attending the concert which was a holy thing. Hugs and love and the return home. I always felt like I needed to straighten up the house before I left. I guess I felt like if I left things in disarray while I was out having a good time it would weigh on me.  And now, as I approach September, I see I’ve done it again: my home is in top shape. I gathered books, CDs, clothes for donating. I trashed things that I was holding on to that was time to let go. Hand-washed a pile of delicate blouses. Everything in its place, keeping only those things that matter, shedding all the rest because I have to prepare for the next chapter.

My neighbor is distraught that I am seeking employment. She appreciates my presence and likes that if she asks I will go with her to grab coffee or new lawn chairs or simply listen whenever she needs. I reassured her that I’ll still be around, but I felt the seismic shift in her when I said I’m going back to work. That’s all right. She will figure things out and get used to it, just like I’ll have to get used to wearing bras and socks and shoes again.

These next two days will be interesting. I wonder what I will do with my silence, my time. All I know is that my house smells like coconut, courtesy of the wax burner. Neighbors are chatting, coffee mugs in hand, fluffy white dogs in laps in the the newly-constructed bench in the courtyard. That wasn’t there last year, m’dear. I will contemplate a wasp sting, a child’s graduating, a man’s love, another man’s spirit, books that make me breathless and books that make me wonder how did this get published, sniffing out the trail of a new tattoo, and reorganizing my energy for a new path, the next path.