Archive for January, 2007

Inner journey




We’ve been digging in sand, you and I
Each with a bucket and plastic shovel
(mine are red – yours are yellow)
And digging in the soft dry part – away from
But in sight and sound of the waves
With the smell of the ocean
And the wind playing with our hair.
At first, all I could see was the hole,
A job that we had to finish so that
The real work could begin.
And I’d pull up great mounds of sand in my
Little plastic shovel – expecting you to help me
Bring it all up at once but instead you smile and
Tell me to shake some off – silly –
Not so deep, not too quickly,
Good holes take time.

So the rhythm slows and
I begin to discover that
It’s not all about digging, of course, for
We find things – things that make us smile.
A shell coiled around itself in rings of color
A stone made shiny by years of
Being pounded by waves until
It came to rest in this place where we dig
Opaque sea glass in different colors –
Jewelry that the mermaids have lost.

We find other, less beautiful things
We try to find a story for each – a reason
The empty shells of sea creatures long dead
That rubbery seaweed that I pull and pull until
Part of it snaps off in my hand and the rest
Stays buried for another time
The inevitable bottle cap or other
Litter that clutters any hole
Something unidentifiable that we
Turn over in our hands before putting it
Carefully aside
Very little is trashed; all has a story

When the sand starts to get damp from
The underground water and I get
Worried about the changing texture of the sand
And even a small shovels-full is too heavy
We stop for awhile and watch
Seagulls in flight – or
Sandpiper ballets along the shore. We
Scan for dolphins playing beyond the breakers
Or dogs playing catch with their people
Sometimes, if the twilight is approaching,
Ghost crabs scuttle around the hole
I recoil (they look too much like spiders)
But you laugh and help me to see the silliness of
Their sideways walk – the magic of watching
Sand-colored creature against sand

The hole is getting deeper now –
We’re getting beyond the point where
Sea breezes can blow much sand in to
Cover our progress … and when it does,
It’s a little easier to dig out the invading grains
And get back to the business of the water
Seeping in from the table below.
And I begin to see that the damp sand
Can form into shapes and patterns that,
Though they seem solid,
Are still made of sand – only sand.

I think that another might have
Taken my hand and pulled me closer to the waves
So that the sand would have been damp quickly
And a shallower hole would have filled with the tide.
Or maybe, given up our colorful plastic buckets
And used those machines you see in the desert
Pounding away at sand and rock until
Water gushes to the sky.
And that may work for some people –
The non-sand people.

I only know that I’m content with this slow uncovering
The windy days and the days when the light is softly violet
When our shovels move together
Or when we just sit and sift the grains of sand
Run them through our fingers and feel their coarse sliding
Days when I can sit at the edge and look
Down and watch and feel the water seep in
Curling bare toes in the dampness
Knowing that if it starts to get too deep you’ll
Let me stop and watch it for awhile
Paddle your feet with mine and help me
Unravel the mysteries of water
Waiting – not lurking – patiently under dry sand

copyright jtestin 2002

Read Full Post »

Taking the plunge


First Flight

the baby bird must
hate its mother as it clings
to the fragile nest with desperate claws

knowing that
the next move is to fall
out into that blueness and space

wanting to stay here in
the nest where it’s safe –
arid and outgrown and yet relentlessly safe

so with terror
masked as resignation the baby flaps
testing as-yet untried wings while perched safely

but clinging won’t do

and the soft wings from behind reach
around and chest against back she’s pushed

inexorably, pushed
too late to beg, to hope, to cling
claws loosen, grasp air, the ground rushes up

and a moment
a moment that lasts for hours of days
as rustles and sighs surround her and she surrenders

and in that moment
does she hate or love the one
who pushed and offered and challenged and

and … and then … Oh! … to fly

copyright jtestin 2003



Read Full Post »



This is the beginning time

These are pictures of this moment
When we grope in the dark and are
Surprised by a match-worth of light

Snapshots fade and we hold them
Wonder who those people were and
What was hidden behind the smiles

I will look back at these and
Know even more than I do in this minute
That I haven’t even begun to see the you

That lives beyond the me that
I bring to this place each week
A place of light and shadow

copyright jtestin 2003 

Read Full Post »