On the Beach
by In All Our Years
Your stillness mattered most, amidst the threat of driving rains.
I had slept the night, soundly, safely- not a threat that I could feel or see, remembering you resting there next to me.
The soft raspy sounds of water on the shore, slowly waking me from the night, the place where there was neither song nor flight, just me.
As my eyes opened, I began to see- you were no longer there next to me. Perhaps in my thoughts, you were, but not for real, not today- not for a long time since.
Without much thought or breath, I rose and left the comfort of my stay, and journeyed out to start the day.
The sun barely visible along the span of ocean and air, I walked toward the shore.
Without a soul in sight, bar one solitary bird, its feet planted in the sand, its gaze to me, across the remains of the night. It waited.
In short time as air swooned me toward, I found myself there, within reach of the small bird. It was not afraid of my approach or that now I could easily touch it.
Its eyes looked deeply into mine, not seeing around me but into me as if it knew my plight, my struggles from the night.
The bare of my feet joined the birds as the water flowed over them, sinking them deeper into the soft sand, the shells- the stones.
I knelt and reached for the bird, the wind rustled its feathers as it tucked its wings closer to its heart, awaiting my touch, my grasp, my hands on the full of its body.
I gently picked it up and pulled it close to my chest, the place she used to rest, with me, silently, softly, the many nights that had long since slipped away.
I stood up, tall and free, lifting the bird up from the beach, the sun starting to peek a bit more, lighting the shore.
I breathed, it breathed. We looked out to the sea, not a care in the world, just the two of us then- in this place, the all of it for us to be.
The little bird spoke, “You were kind to me.”
“Yes, you were so deserving of the love we shared.”
And then with my feet shared between us, we started toward the rising sun.
The morning strengthened. The light now ample for all to see. More life appeared.
One then two, people and birds, crawly things from small holes in the sand, sounds from the land of those wanting to be on the beach too.
Our pace slowed as we approached a small pool. It had formed from the mix of currents that found their way to the land, to the beach, moving the sand, the sand that was beneath my feet.
I stopped. The small bird looked again into my eyes and then wiggled out of my arms into the pool of water. The little bird floated without care or plan, I followed with feet and hands, lowering myself into the ocean alongside it.
We floated there for a while. The tide wandered in. The pool grew larger until it was- no more, the ocean all around us now.
The heat of the morning, calling for us to drink fresh water. The little bird looked at me, knowing I could not stay, nor it for long, not today.
And before calm or thought, without warning or farewell, the little bird flew up and away, to where it did not tell.
I watched it fly full and free. The light shining on us both now, the bird up in the air leaving … in the water, close to shore and the endless land, just me.
I turned my gaze away and walked from the wet, the dry welcoming me as before, until then perhaps when I would return some other day, to be, on the beach.