"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Waiting for a ship

The May spring water pulsed over my bare feet, and I curled my toes against the cold. I knew it wasn’t ocean water; it was Lake Michigan water; that didn’t sound as poetic. A half hour ago on this beach in Door County, Wisconsin, my friend and I had stood on the broken shells and looked out at the breathing mist.

Clouds as low as the lake. “Did you ever pretend, when you were a little girl on the beach,” I closed my eyes, “that if you looked long enough at the ocean—at the horizon—were careful not to blink—and just knew, and waited—a ship would come for you?”

My friend has mounted the hill to the house, but I am still in the sand and dawn. Down the beach a clatter of rocks migrates toward the wet horizon, and a seagull preens. When I reach it, my bare feet find their place in the water-washed stone: islands.

“When I am alone on the beach,” my friend told me, “I turn into the wind, turn into the water, and sing.”

But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over 
Neither have I the wings to fly… 
But I'll spend my days in endless roaming, 
Soft is the grass, my bed is free...
On that long road down to the sea. 

If a ship were ever to come for me, it would be now, on the water, in the morning, while I sing.