At the water's edge, my children feed me their laughter in bits and pieces until I am Full.
Yet I am empty.
At the water's edge I stand, my sinking feet tell of my strength, my towering shadow screams of my power, until the waves tugging at my legs and swirling around my ankles remind me of my smallness.
Of my insignificance.
I stand here remembering all that was and all that Is and that Will be or Might be or Should be. The enormity of it all steals away my sounds and so, I am silent. The expanse of this ocean and the thumbnail sailboat remind me that my silence means nothing.
I stand here feeling like it is all so far away but yesterday morning. How we planted tiny seeds and laughed as they stuck to the soft sticky skin inside of our hands. How we watered them and they grew and we harvested them and ate them and now we reap the last rewards of our grown things, alive among the browning leaves of death. Autumn sneezes around the corner an invisible mist that tell us it is near, that tell Us to use our coupons for back to school and close our pools and rent out has been fitness centers for Halloween costumes and dry ice.
I ache for Summer to stay here with me yet yearn for the newness of something else. I am blind to the changes that are coming yet I await with vivid images behind my blackened eyelids.
Fall is New, yet prepares all the Things to die.
Our plants will die. Our vegetables and our pink and yellow lillies and our tiny sweet watermelons and our cherry tomatoes...
Our slow late mornings and our long afternoons spent swimming in the honey parts of this Life.
Thick and sweet and slow.
Kisses and Laughter and Comfort.
Truth is, we could have stayed this way Forever.
And I would have been okay with that.
They ask if it's the last time we will be here for a while. I laugh at them and make them believe we will be back again soon.
We cannot make our little ocean pool because there are too many baby clams as we dig.
I tell them it's okay, we will just keep putting them into the bucket and I will save them so keep digging.
I take bucket after bucket of sand packed tightly into the faded lime green plastic bucket to the edge of the water, to gently dump out the baby clams where they get swallowed in one swish and pull of the wave pulling them in at the water's edge.
Except for the one's that don't.
They are left exposed for too long. I watch these tiny small insignificant things use all their energy and everything they have to dig themselves back down into the sand as quickly as possible but it is too late. They are not fast enough. I watch them as the tiny still fluffy tufted baby sea birds take them and run away, their little legs going so fast I cannot but make out a moving blur of motion. Stupid birds, I think. The glare of the elder birds fills me with a sudden guilt, the sort that makes you feel confused, and I am almost overwhelmed for a second because I get it, but I don't and I feel so sorry for these stupid clams yet I get it the circle of Life and all that and suddenly I am crouched down near the water's edge crying for clams or baby seagulls who will grow up hated and shoved away or maybe I am just crying for myself because Things are Changing and I hate change and who decides which clams make it and which clams don't ?
We don't get to decide.
We don't get to control things.
Things just are.
We get them and they just are.
I stand again, the bucket dangling empty from my fingers.
I face the ocean, close my eyes, focus on the warm sun on my back, listen to the meek squawks of birds who can not yet fly learning to catch their first meal. I can not fault them for that.
My youngest comes to me with a shovel bending over from the weight of wet sand and a hundred tiny clams and without saying a word drops them into the bucket. My daughter cartwheels in front of me, her hands making a tiny splash of salty water onto her face. She squeezes her eyes shut but her smile reaches my soul. My oldest son digs deeper, determined to make the hole deep enough to hold the ocean water after it pulls back.
Things are moving around me and I stand here, still and silent and Full of all of these Things. Things I want to keep and things I want to throw away and Things I cannot understand and Things I do not want to Change and Things I wish would change.
"Mom that baby bird just ate my baby clams!!! "
I know baby, I know.
We huddle together over this scene, silent and observant. Like outsiders or inhabitants.
We stand and wonder.
We turn away, and watch the sunset over the dunes behind us.
Orange and blue and purple and beautiful and glowing.
We stand and watch the colors disappear over the edge of the tall grasses and beyond the distant rooftops.
We stand on the Edge of Summer, and Wait. ~
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