Greetings from Shelter Island, New York where I’m vacationing after the completion of the manuscript for Grace Sticks. (Next week I’ll be back to the regular schedule of 3-5 posts a week.) “Kemah” is the name of my family’s home here; the term is a Native American expression meaning “face into the wind.” On our last day on the island, I’m remembering this poem I wrote during a visit here a couple years ago:
“Face Into the Wind”
An expectant ferry ride
The smell of the sea
Now it’s time to put the windows down.
Up the gravel driveway, overgrown in places,
to the house with many windows holding still more secrets.
Walks to Wade’s Beach
Gin and tonics on the porch
The sound of crickets
A girl walks along the beach holding hands under the night sky.
A little boy reads “Casey at the Bat” with his father
and she remembers the last time she heard a great big man with gnarled hands recite it by heart.
In the same room.
He had commanded an audience with that proud voice bent by the years.
Cocktails parties and dinners in the open air,
The last chatter and clinking of plates in the dishwasher,
taken up by the ebb and flow of the sea…
A woman walks along the beach;
she is looking for something she lost.
Concerts in the barn.
The musicians have gone now but the chorus of birds remains:
with the sound of the sea and the wind in the trees, theirs is a symphony;
a paean to “The Eternal” even as the photographs from bygone years, dog-eared and yellow,
tell of Time’s unrelenting passage.
Here past and present embrace;
and in their union our faces press into the wind.