This summer I have been thinking a lot about images, how images can fuel writing and creativity. I made a six-image memoir in response to a prompt by Kevin Hodgson on the Make Learning Connected site. Kim Douillard’s posts on Thinking Through my Lens make me think about the images I take responding to a theme. This week, Kim wrote about water, “Like water, there is power in writing. Power to connect, to heal, to think and reflect. We sometimes forget that writing in unexpected places creates new urgency and agency for our writing. So go outside, find a place by a river, on the curb, under a tree, or even sit on the car bumper and see what writing comes when you change your lens.”
I climbed the high rock on the beach at Deception Pass on Whitbey Island, Washington on Tuesday. I took my notebook with me, a little pocket-sized one. Here is my journal entry:
You have to know the tides. Deception is easy looking off at the horizon reflecting on blue water, showing Mt. Baker–snowtopped snowball. The rocky beach offers smooth stones for your collection, stones of every color & size. We don’t have rocks like these at home in the south where the beaches are sand & shells, Gulf, not Pacific. Yet, I can close my eyes & breathe in the salty air, listen to the soft hum of the waves.
Beaches are like this–offering to us along with a sense of adventure, danger, of deception, the feeling of comfort, peace, of all being right with the world. I have my place on top of this huge jutting black rock. I can see Canada from here. I taste the seaweed & salt.
God wants us to marvel every day, to be alert, pay attention. Be still and know. I am grateful for this gift of sea, air, smooth stones, and a space to sit, reflect, write, and know that even though I am a mere speck of sand or a single stone, I have a name.
This entry became a poem for Carol Varsalona’s Gallery Collection “Reflect with Me Summer Serenity.” This is only draft three, so you can offer revision suggestions.
Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, July, 2014
The clouds always keep us guessing,
so you have to know the tides.
Deception is easy, looking only
at the horizon line. Sometimes masked as a cloud,
the snow-topped mountain in the distance
deceives us, too.
The rocky beach becomes my foot hold,
a path of colorful stones washed smooth
by the constant lapping of the water.
I close my eyes to the salty air, listen
to the hum-swish of waves crashing the shore,
hear in them the possibility of danger.
Guided by the presence of the moon,
the sea gives and takes.
In the grit on my tongue, I can taste
the unleavened bread of sacrifice.
Be still and know is all I must do.
Marvel at the wonders of rock and air and sea.
Margaret Simon, all rights reserved
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