Monday, December 31, 2012


It's midday on a Saturday in December, 
and the coastline is nearly deserted
aside from a solitary jogger and his terrier
who noses my palm before hurriedly
padding off to catch up with his master.
A squadron of grounded gulls squats
like lumps of concrete on the rain-pocked sand.
Sea stacks rise from the surf on either side, 
stone sentinels sleepily guarding the tide.
Between them, scroll after hissing scroll
roars and curls and foams. 
Swell and crest and collapse. 
I walk toward the bulk of Haystack Rock, 
which looms like the mouth of a tunnel 
opening into the mist.
Squinting against the wind, I trudge past scorched logs
and tangled heaps of puckered kelp, 
past scoured wooden homes abandoned for the winter,
past windswept hemlocks bent over backwards,
permanently twisted away from the Pacific.
I stoop to pry a mussel from the sand,
its blue-black wings hinged by a thread of gristle,
and warm it in my fist within my pocket.
Cheeks scraped raw, forehead wet and stinging,
I stomp my numb feet and flap my arms
and finally surrender to the storm, stop and turn around 
before reaching the rock formations.
I head back, no longer battling the wind
but letting it push me firmly in the right direction
back toward the steps to the street
back to the warmth of the car.
Tomorrow I turn forty. Today, a single pelican
skims low across the water
to pass without a sound into the future.


  1. Oh Seann, you captured our beach foray so perfectly... Didn't miss a thing.

    I didn't know this was 40...

    So honored to share it with you...

  2. Your drawing couldn't be more vivid. And there's no grander sight in the world than a pelican gliding.