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Stage managing marine biologist, spying double agent, Browncoat, Grainger catalog model, conqueror of worlds, toaster of shoku pan, photographer, doodler, craftster, mother of a fat grey cat, and skinny orange snake.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crane Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Today, for a nice "day at the beach", I went to Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

A friend said that it was probably the best beach in the area, and after going there for the first time, I might have to agree.

This beach, as well as several other locations around the state of MA, are part of The Trustees of Reservations. Basically, some people with money started buying natural land around the state in order to preserve it for future generations. Great idea, and if I had the money I'd be doing the same thing.

I guess it technically wasn't my first time there.....last summer my friend, Ryan, got married on the Crane Estate/Castle Hill. Then I was pretty awed by both the estate and ground surrounding it, rolling green hills.

I guess the newest addition was to the boardwalks to the beach. They had painted poetry on each step.

"Poetry in Action" they call it, and the poem is titled "Align".


This beach has a history of habits.
the moon, a constant clock,
has always given rise to tides
wave by wave
the water wakes and sighs
shortens the sand
lengthens a swim.

The wind
has always known
how to nudge
and urge
the sand into action,
setting a dune on
a blade of grass
a foothold for
more wind
tangling the memory of
a pitch pine’s roots.

The sun signals
the terns
to journey,
a compromise
for more daylight.
the birds adjust, nest in our tracks,
because it makes,
for a fledgling,
a future.

The lee of this chain
has been under the guidance
of the moon, the wind, and the sun
sage counsel to this,
our changing beach.
These are the habits
that a beach can honor.


Our habitat of habit is gilded
glossy and glaring,
we burn like the sun
assert like the wind
a pushy moon
sere and surge.

Our wrack line seedless
our water, a faucet left on
a cumbersome coil
an indirect route
a spill.

Our errands, bulked up
by consumer muscle,
not graceful and direct on legs
like the plover
nothing like the fleeting
shadow of wingspan.

Our thirst sharper than salt,
we need, buy, sell, discard

to get away
for a day like this
separate and splendid
from indoor life
to pretend proportion
and feel small against the sea.


To be small again,
let morning light illuminate you
wave water cleanse you
the breeze power you
and let your footsteps,
a simple shift
from sole to sand,
fall lighter on this earth.

Find a second life
for all
that you own
bury nothing,
but let it tumble
in a new
and useful way
bring home only what you need
need less.

Align with the sun, the wind and the moon
in their difficult work
to erase our footsteps
our surfeit
blend in like the plover
cast a shorter shadow
shift like the dune
adopt an inconvenience
so that we may keep
the sea

Colleen Michaels
April, 2008

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