At the Beach

Yesterday I was bowled over by an unexpected emotional reaction to the beach.  I don’t really know why I felt so strongly.  The emotions were not pleasant and they swept me off my ground.  By the end of the day I did not feel like a capable adult.  I felt like a helpless child.

It is Thanksgiving weekend at the beach in South Carolina with my family.

Poetry.  I’ve never connected with poetry.  I think this may be because I have tried to read poetry with my mind.  My school teachers did not help me: they analyzed poetry with us.  They did the same with visual art but I rebelled against that.

Poetry attempts to describe emotional experiences with words.  To be a poet is to feel strongly and deeply.  Not all poets write poetry.  Composers are poets who write music.  Artists are poets who paint (for example).  For me, visual art and music describe emotional experiences better than words.  I wonder, is this just me?

I find that when I try to put my emotions into words, I misinterpret them.  I am not a poet though– I am a writer of journals and a friend who shares myself through talking.  I am learning that my mind and my emotions speak different languages.  When I try to explore my emotions with my mind (i.e. with my words), I miss understanding myself.

Maybe I should try writing poetry.

Homesick at the Beach

We left our home in the mountains to arrive at night
Waves pounding the shore lulled me to sleep
Waves of homesickness greeted me at dawn
Why am I homesick?

I feel that I have come home
The beach is so familiar
I learned to walk on the beach
Grew up on the beach

My busy father played with me
Carried me into the waves
I can still see his back
Covered in sand and salt

Beaches encircle each continent
People around the world
Know the beach
Grow up on the beach

Waves never stop
Pounding, moving, rhythmic
Light and color and shapes
Sound of an afternoon nap

I arrived in Israel alone at dawn
Disoriented and confused
I went down to the beach
For solace

Awoke at dusk
Surrounded by children
Rested and refreshed
Ready for my journey

The beach reminds: nothing is permanent
Here the erosion of time is swift
Tides sweep away legacies
Footprints vanish in seconds

If life is fleeting
And home is at the beach
Each year away leaves me
Heartbroken with homesickness

Two days later, erev Shabbat at the beach:  Tonight we will cook dinner, light candles, and celebrate our weekly festival to the sounds of the ocean.  What a gift to see and hear the beach from every window!
Walking alone on the beach yesterday, I found myself transported to a walk on the beach in Israel.  As I shared in my poem, I went first to Tel Aviv and the beach.  I spent a few days relocating myself on the planet by walking that beach.  (When Alon and I did this at the Santa Monica beach on our return from India, we had virtually no jet lag.)

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