You remember when you took the picture.
Late afternoon, after a day’s journey,
your suitcases dropped off at the rooming house.
It was March. The off season,
and the beaches were empty
and the light was low and bright.
You climbed the dune, crossed past the sand fences,
and came to the ocean. You had planned to walk,
but instead sat on the still-warm sand
and waited for the dark as the tide began its retreat.
You watched the sun fall. Watched the colors of the sky
deepen from blue to shades of orange, to indigo, to black.
This is what you need. Not silence.
The sea is anything but with wind and wave
and the distant cry of gulls and seals.
No, it is the emptiness you crave,
place and time to release the clutter of your life,
an emptiness that leaves some uncomfortable,
but leaves you alive, strong, unconquerable,
stripped of your false armor, your soul fresh
as a baby’s first breath.
You sit. A few stragglers come and go.
The wind blows off from the sea.
You can smell the salt.
Here, there is no need to be conscious
in the care of your soul. There is no work in it.
The salt air and sea draw the poisons away
and leave you purged,
and once again, powerful.
About this poem.
The picture was taken on the tip of Cape Cod, not far from Provincetown. You read about soul mates, or soul animals. This is my soul place.