So if you come to with a shuddering start halt these past few months you’ve had no words, words, words, words to describe, what is metaphor but all you put stock in and now you find yourself on a beach bordered with tall pointed firs and you never did read that book, nor did your parenthetical heart ever resist an allusion or avoid grasping too long to any romantic illusion, even if the latter was really nobody’s fault but hope that thing with wings that flew too close to the sun. Still, the fact that it’s been one foot in front of another just shy of the speed of a runaway train though really these days you feel more like those toy planes made out of balsa that splinter before they’re out of the box, well, then, you tell yourself that still it’s okay.
It’s the sight of the sand and the murmuring sea the sea the sea it’s always the sea and o, it’s the sea glass that you’d forgotten but now rediscovered that jerks you awake in the sunlight and breezes with wind whipping your cheeks and air as salt as your tears and it’s no wonder that babies cry when they’re born because it’s a terrible shock to see once again the glittering world all around you carrying on in your absence. The glass it gleams clear green and brown the bits shake you break you ask you questions you’d posed to another and gotten no answers and then you are stooping and swooping not graceful at all to gasp shudder grasp seek and find, gather it in and don’t stop because here, here they are three thousand miles from home the jagged smooth multihued pieces of heart you hadn’t known until now that you’d lost. Some pieces are clean and still wet and some are clouded and dusty some so sharp you bleed as you grip them tight in your hand. This pain no this pain is not like the other it doesn’t matter you smile as you bleed stoop collect more, line your pockets with bits of yourself you never thought you’d get back.
There are other bits, too, shapes it will take a long time to piece into something that works and maybe it’ll be a Rube Goldberg assemblage but they have their own kind of charm and those bits that slip in are both clear and opaque because sometimes, things just catch your eye and there’s no other reason for them not everything has to be governed by rules. Those bits of quartz and red stone and spiraling shell small bits of white china smoothed by the waves signs of domestic disturbance transformed by time they too go in your pocket. And this this too though it gives you pause because now now you remember but you’re on the opposite side and metaphors are made out of words and words aren’t words but everything, all. There’s the heart-shaped end of a bottle, jagged and raw with the fully-legible imprint of its point of departure cast up on the beach, glittering hard in the sun and demanding attention calling for it screaming almost.
Can you cast it back in the water? Can you let it bathe longer, not because it is trash like a child misnames no it’s simply material that isn’t transformed it’s experience that gives you that wisdom, either that or from this perspective you’re lonely or vain but you’re just going to call it imminent treasure. Can you cast it back because it’s too bright to look yet upon? Can make do with what you’ve got left? Can you let that piece go knowing you may not find it again but some other wanderer may? Someone else may need it later more finished than you think you need it now raw.
Now you remember. Time and tide they don’t wait but they still take care of us all.