Readers Write: Meditation on a Beach

The Island Now


In my area, people well know they’re on a regular
flight-path for planes on their way to JFK.
Jets rumble past low enough to shatter windows
and nerves—on busy weekends and holidays
about every 90 seconds or so.

Here peace laps quietly,
over the sand and broken shell pebbles,
the soft ripples of the bay undulate the surface
toward me.

But little furrows of quiet in the gripping light
never do make a wave.
The blue-black water looks hopelessly deep,
then almost breaks against my feet, slipping into
cool fresh mud that might one day turn to shale,
if buried deep and long enough.

Behind this thin strip of land the grass-rich
wetland glints back. A small bird
is poised on a reed, then darts for its fly.
A cormorant wades in the shallow water.

A deer with its timid stance looks on attentively
from a thick edge of trees, maybe wanting to drink,
and withdraws as it came, in silence.
The shadow it left behind vanishes just the same.

Years ago I came across a Woodland period tool making site
in a tick infested area—fine grain quartz chips dotted
a weathered hillside, still sharp as the day they were made.
The discards from tiny arrowheads for going after birds and fish,
made when Indians moved to their summer camp by the shore.
The state historic preservation office advised to keep
the find quiet, lest vandals or treasure hunters destroy it,
I told the park superintendent and left it at that.
It seems crazy, but my secret remains after all these years.

All day morning-glory-blossoms continue to open.
Peaceful undercurrents slide between the ridges
of thought, graceful in or out.
I stroll and muse, my spirit runs in and out of the ripples,
the rich interplay renewing life reflecting sunlight.
I came here courting silence, which is how it should be.

Stephen Cipot
Garden City Park

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