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And Words Are All I Have

Let the waves carry you where the light can not.

~~ Mohit Kaushik

Island Rhapsody

Sunset at Hug Point, Oregon.
Impromptu post-Thanksgiving notes... I am thankful for, in entirely random order… strong coffee (not bitter) to kickstart me, my vibrant, talented and loving family, unexpected kindness, my dogs ... any dogs, all dogs, ok, all animals anywhere, everywhere. Including Fiona my frog (yes, mine, you see, we bonded) who has yet to make an appearance since my return here. If she was annoyed at me for leaving so unceremoniously when the pandemic erupted, she has made her point.

I remain ever watchful.

Continuing kudos...Tim Horton's Canadian Maple Donuts, the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point (o.7) Marker, the savvy of Jon Stewart, the writing of David Sedaris and Lorrie Moore, the paintings of Edward Hopper, the music of Ennio Morricone and Mark Knopfler, the films of Isabelle Huppert, Maybelline's Under Eye Concealer, the New Yorker magazine for keeping me sane through decades of interminable bleak Canadian winters, mental health pioneers, and SSRI's.

Mashed potatoes and gravy, going to bed after writing into the wee hours, and sleeping late.

And being alongside the ocean. Or in it. Whenever. Wherever. However.

As I am - blissfully - now.

Oh, and 125 Sunblock, which I slather on daily here.

It actually shoots light back up at the sun.

Island Time

Keep the luxuries, the extras,
the heavy cream for coffee,
the Frette linens,
the cashmere; it itches anyway.
Return to me this,
this view.
An expanse of cerulean sea that deepens to cobalt blue at the horizon,
a delicate frame of palm fronds lofting against the wind,
a surf breaking hard off shore on a reef I've come to know.
Include a lone broken shell lolling at the water's edge.
Bathe it all in the luscious lavender light
of a late afternoon. And please,
just a hint of white oleander.
Keep the rest.
Return to me


Here is the local harbor of my (that's how I think of it) tiny out-island.

Beach Finds

I’ll introduce you to some marine life while on island here - species I come across on my oceanside walks and island forays that capture my eye. I have the Caribbean sea on one side and the Atlantic on the other so it is an embarrassment of riches. (Who first said that?)

I’ll start with a fascinating little fellow known colloquially as By-the-Wind-Sailor, and by its Latin moniker Villella. A friend of mine, a marine biologist, (score!) told me about them after I spotted one seaside.

This pelagic, (open ocean) curious species is not a true jellyfish but in fact made up of a colony of tiny individual animals. Its characteristic sail gives the animal its name. Projecting vertically up, the stiff translucent triangular vane is made of chitin, a substance from glucose also found in crab, insect skeletons, and squid beaks. This vane acts like a small sail. Enthrallingly, the sail runs diagonally across the top of the float, so that the villella sails at a 45 degree angle to the prevailing wind.

Just like a sailing boat. God, how I love that factoid.

The sail propels the organism on ocean currents, while its stinging tentacles prey on small animals. But the wind proves a double edged sword for the villella, which can be seen washed up by the score after winter storms. (Look away... just look away...)

Its striking cobalt blue colour is thought to serve as camouflage ... as well as inbuilt SPF! (Where do I get me some of that?)

Here is a flotilla of them...
villela 2

In Jamaica swimming a few years ago I was walking out from shore into the ocean and I felt sudden piercing pain in my left foot. It felt like I’d stepped on a piece of jagged glass or a soda can but it turned out to be a sea urchin, which had generously injected 12 of its brittle spines into my foot. I know it was 12 because I counted along with the hotel doctor as he removed them.

These spiny sea creatures are found in oceans all over the world. The spines, which in some species are long and sharp, serve to protect the urchin from predators. (But c'mon, I came in peace.) Cleaned of the spines the shell has a dramatic geometrical beauty. See the pretty pink urchin shown below Mr. Nasty.

sea urchin 2
very pink sea urchin

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook, not
the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication, not
the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punch line, the door or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don't regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You've walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.

Dorianne Laux
pencil drawing red heart
tyler gregson
I am here, listening. Share your own stories with me, gentle reader.
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