shell shocked

Inside the ocean,within its constant movements, there is magic. Toes dig into crushed shells, algae and seaweed and perhaps the occasional fish, rocks and human waste: band-aids, cigarette carcasses, wrappers, plastic

I have aged out of Sunday newspaper comic strips and Saturday morning cartoons. I don’t even own a television anymore.

I have moved beyond dolls and playgrounds, though without a child I’m not even permitted to play on swingsets alone (due to pedophiles).

I have removed all my piercings, remain addicted only to coffee now, and no longer feel enticed to engage in evenings of debauchery (minus special occasions).

However…

though decades gather, I still get lost on beaches, searching for shells, rocks and (if I’m really lucky) sea glass.

In purple bikini top and borrowed swim trunks, I kept adding to my hearty handful of varying-sized shells. Many were cracked, some disintegrated into my clumsy fingers, while others were remnants of something much larger once. I may have found three to four complete ones, though the smaller bits are just as illuminating and miraculous.

What is it about these shells that captivate me far more than jewelry, shoes, or baubles of any sort. They are homes. Homes to animals and housed by the ocean.

Am I a home? Home to my bones and housed by this earth?

Essentially, we humans are shells: variously hued, shaped in rippled skin that shakes and alters. We never stay still in these shapes. We’ve sharp angles and some of us are bigger than others, while some of us are/feel crushed…a former version of what we once were.

We can be found, if looked for.
Regardless, we exist.

And on this beach where shells, sand and ocean can be found, there are families. I take note of the French Canadians walking past, the lesbian couple visiting from upstate New York with matching haircuts, cargo pants, and t-shirts advertising what town we are in.

A man from Ottawa says, “I think I may take my shirt off and show off my frame.”

I paint a thick coating of sunscreen all over my skin, while I watch ladies pass me by wearing over-cooked flesh, freckled and burnt. I worry about their health; I worry about their worry.

For four days, I leave Brooklyn behind and wonder what waits for me. As I age, I ask myself what matters, what is needed, and what/who I want to grow old with. My staples in life have dwindled down to: coffee, books, notebook, extra fine black ink pilot pens, and places to walk which excite poems out of me. I’ve entertained thoughts of joining a commune (still researching these options) or filling up my favorite blue/green backpack with enough essentials and hiking my way toward a new land.

What/who is worth remaining for?

The shells I plucked from the ocean and sand wait for me to admire them once again in old jelly jar. I’m not quite ready to untwist that jar and let their scent out.

Perhaps I need to untwist myself first, allow for some real time, so the magic stuffed deep, deep inside can travel its way out of me.

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