Ecopoetics Along Shorelines


Field Writing Samples (100’s)

June 5, 2018

“I’m eight years old again and I find a little eel in a tidepool on the beach of Orcas Island – I name it Eely and my parents let me keep it in a bowl outside our house. It’s hot out and I tell my grandpa to change the water while I’m gone. Eely dies. I cry. I tell my grandpa, “It’s all your fault!” My parents console me. We put Eely in the water and they swear that they saw him swim away. How cruel am I to capture a living thing and then mourn the loss of its life.”

“I try to remember what it felt like that day but it feels so distant now. Here, with aluminum beneath my fingers, I wonder how I had never noticed it before. Iterations – backspace, right-click, synonyms, backspace. Four years under this roof and now the two items in my bag are a laptop and a cell phone. I want so badly for the sound of keys to be replaced by the crashing of waves; for the carpet to turn to sand; for the brick walls to open up and let in a crisp, salty breeze. I switch to pen and paper.”

“I look down and the only monster I see is me. “All eukaryotic life is monstrous” – is it? Maybe. I ask you but you don’t answer. I kick my feet over the concrete edge and let them dangle below me. A woman stares back at me – distorted by your vibrant ebb and flow and tinted by oil collecting on your surface. Below your surface I see bottles, tires, cement blocks, a bike. Unabashed, you mirror and move with an energy like I’ve never seen. After all I’ve done to hurt you, you still dance at the sight of my face.”

“If you were an animal, you’d be this one – wide-eyed, brilliant, capable of brightening anyone’s day with a single wave. You’d be this one… or maybe the one in the aquarium that we’d visit every year. You remember the one, right? You nod and I wonder if you’re lying.  We’d visit her while grandpa was at work. I’d say “octopus moving” and you’d laugh with the most angelic laugh I’ve ever heard. If you were an animal, you’d be this one – witty and curious, intelligent and fascinating – dare I go on lest I risk adopting this octopus as my grandmother?”

“I come to this place in search of a remedy, or maybe just a chapel. I want to lay here until the tide rises and the healing rhythm of the Sound washes over me, let Her blanket drown me and with my body, my sins. If I bathe in Her holy water, will the Sound absolve me?

I want to plunge into the clear, cold bay, say three Hail Mary’s, plug my nose, and run off of the dock, descending past walls of technicolor life, waving outstretched arms to me as I pass, as if to say, you are forgiven.”

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