What I Saw At The Beach


I read this prompt and it asked what all of this tells me of myself. Well, for one thing, I’m disorganized, but I’m figuring out the art of that.

Who knows what it says? To whom? To me. Some people would say I’m crazy, others would say I’m an artist. Foolish, brilliant, whatever. I could agree with them all on any given day.

It’s all dubious, all subjective…even to myself.


Here’s what I know:

When we were walking on the beach, I mostly took pictures of the things that were dead. The old trees sunk in the sand and bleached.
“Take a picture of him in the boneyard,” my father advised me, referring to the trees in the name they were called by people who called the trunks as they saw them.

(Here in the mountains, the American Chestnuts that died on the mountainsides were called ghosts, standing tall and dead up the slope. People would, in oral history, recollect hearing them fall, shaking the forests.)

The lighthouse is tilted, proclaimed as one of the state’s great treasures and yet existing for less than 200 years and no longer even serving a purpose other than to be an old lighthouse, a symbol of a time when the ships had to look harder for the channels.

The blue crabs, young and with claws like periwinkles, all on their backs, photographed as found, looking to be in midflight.


I tried to take pictures of the clouds, but they weren’t so fantastic as what was on the ground that day, a shell with no animal that looks like a foot and a lone cedar by the marsh, living and twisted, it’s bark polished red and shiny by salt and wind.


A hawk on the top of a beheaded palm, and someone’s homemade stencil.

At the gas station on the way home, pulled up alongside the trash scrub field behind where the trucks were parked, there were the tiniest pink flowers and I almost dug some up, because it was clear that they could grow anywhere.


…and so I am less interested in what this says of me than in what it might tell me of how I see the world.

Is there really anything to say?

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