Beach What Raised Me

It’s a funny thing with time and landscape. You know a place so well and it seems like you’ll know it forever. And I do… but going back, it was jarring to see how we’ve both changed. It was like going home, and being pushed out of home. I felt like a tourist, even though I lived just a few blocks from Ocean Beach from 24 til I was about 29. I walked so many sunsets here. I was tumbled by that shoreline until my mid-20s edges started to soften and round.

Beach What Raised Me Up

Beach What Raised Me Up

Shortly after I took this photo, Allison, who was my roommate in those Outer Sunset days, sent me David Whyte’s “Start Close In” and I used it as a template to tell the story of Allison and I going to the Beach Chalet (after sitting in the car for about 15 minutes)¬†and then making our way down to Ocean Beach.

don’t first get the beer
or run to the beach:
open the door

get out of the carand let the wind whip
your hair as you dash
to the… bathroom

then as you look back
don’t worry that you
are not the windsurfer
zinging along the waves
getting lifted ten,
fifteen feet,
dangling upside down
for long seconds

don’t compare yourself to the lab
who thinks nothing of his own eyes
–they are of no consequence–
in the face of the surf

take the first step
which is now the beer
in the second story corner window
where you can watch the stairwells
turn to sand turbines
spinning their small tornadoes
and feel glad that you are not
the lone walker
with pants making
a swarm of angry legs facets

this is not a day for the beach
feel glad that you are above them
with your Hefeweizen
watching the sun dip seal-like
in and out of the clouds
the sky turning warm and bonfirey
and luring in
a small rainbow blotch of a sundog

and then


on the first step

of the turbine
dune-jumping your way down
eyes closed,


Leave a Reply