The truth is, I am a creature of the mountains.
I have lived in the hollows and ridges far too long,
isolated in places protected by walls of stone, full
of peaks to climb and caves to hide within during storms.
And so these new vistas, these sandy stretches
and coastlines are foreign to me.
There is no place to hide here, no place to run
when nature turns terrible and dark.
There is no place to live unseen.
When fog blinds me, there are no walls to protect me.
exposed to God and man alike,
seen coming and going, laughing and crying.
This is a new thing for me.
But it is a landscape I chose, this odd accountability
of living in plain view, this strange faith
that driftwood has its story, its peculiar beauty,
and if that is the worst I can become, I can be happy still.
About this poem
Some details: I have lived in the mountains, first of Virginia and now in Vermont, for over thirty years. In the past few years, I have discovered the ocean again. Cape Cod has become my refuge, the place I go to so I can just be and feel. It has come to feel more like home than home.
Many years ago, I had stopped writing poetry. Heck, I had stopped doing most anything, lost in depression. It was my therapist who pushed me to begin again, and who pushed me to publish them. It was hard at first, not just because I was pretty sure my poetry writing had become irretrievably rusty from lack of use, but also the idea of exposing my feelings to others was frightening.
It still feels a little scary. But you have been gentle with me all in all, and I have learned sharing feelings opens opportunities for friendships, growth and the chance to assist others on their journey. I may be driftwood, but at times, people take me and hang me on their walls.
There are worse fates.