Shifting Shores

drifting in and out of the dream
sometimes reality is too deep
the dreaming world, her secrets keep
setting foot on the sandy shore
constantly searching for more
no impression left to the naked eye
from the ever-changing tides
found a lover, meant to be
connected by the ocean waves
always sliding into his arms
with gentle grace or siren’s song
slipping in and out of the haze
dreams fading to reality day by day
where seals might be selkies, mermaids be fish
some say dreams are only a wish
others say they are a gift

Second Chances

Life isn’t in the business of giving second chances.

At least not to my knowledge.

But when life does offer a second chance, whether by design or accident, I highly recommend grasping it. (Although, the argument could be made that there are no accidents in life and that everything happens for a reason. That, however, is a discussion for another time.)

I never thought I’d be given a second chance. I thought I screwed it up so bad that the universe would be laughing at me for decades, calling me a foolish woman. And maybe I was foolish, but I was younger then and my reasoning felt sound.

Okay, maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. So, let me backtrack.

Years ago, when I was in college, I met a boy. It wasn’t love at first sight, at least not that I can remember, but he still had qualities that made me blush and want to melt. He had the most gorgeous eyes, a sweet smile, and a warm laugh. He was kind and funny. (Even to this day he can make me laugh like no one else can.) He seemed quiet and shy, unless it was just the two of us together. We were friends, sure, but, at a certain point, I developed feelings that were more than friendly feelings. Of course, I was quiet and shy myself and certainly not the type of person who would openly make my feelings known to anyone. No, I had been hurt too many times by others to take that risk and go down that road again. Besides, the chances he even remotely felt the same about me was, well, slim.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The year we were meant to graduate, he asked me out.

I said no.

And the universe rolled its eyes and whispered how I was a foolish woman.

I was too.

The truth is, when he asked, I was surprised and scared. I won’t go into detail, but the rush of emotions and thoughts that passed through my mind was almost too much. So, I said no and basically ran away when I should’ve said yes and stayed. I knew it was a mistake even as it was happening, but, again, without going into the details, I was younger then and my reasoning felt sound.

I think we’ve all been there at least once in our lives. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all run scared from something. And there’s no shame in that because, at the time, it feels right and our choices aren’t thought of as mistakes. It’s only when we look back on things later that we sometimes title out actions ‘Mistake.’

Well, we lost contact shortly after graduation. Part of me thought it was for the best. Another part of me was sad to lose such a good friend.

Through the years, he still passed through my thoughts. At first, it felt like the universe was making me suffer more than I was already making myself suffer. I felt guilty for hurting him, sad for losing contact, and was mad at myself for my previous actions. Overall, I pulled a classic me and continuously beat myself up over the situation.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there at least once in our lives too. We’ve all beat ourselves up over something, no matter how big or small. But I think this, all of this, is just part of being human.

Later on, when he’d pass through my thoughts, I felt different about it. It didn’t feel like suffering anymore. I simply hoped he was doing well in life and wished him all the best.

The last time this man entered my thoughts, he wouldn’t leave. He set up camp and refused to vacate the area. He relentlessly remained on my mind and I believed it must be for a reason so, I searched for him.

And I found him.

And I guess, in a way, we’ve always been connected.

It turns out, I never left his thoughts either, as he spent time searching for me too. (Only he was never able to track me down.)

I suppose this was how it was always meant to be.

Maybe it wasn’t right back then, when we were in college. Maybe we were too young, too foolish in our own ways. Maybe we had to go off and grow into the people we were meant to be, not only for ourselves but for each other.

So, maybe, this is how it was meant to be. Or, maybe, this is a second chance. It doesn’t really matter to me either way. All I know is, this man is now my special someone and I’m never letting him go.

A Second Home

There’s a half dozen beach points, or more, to visit, but I still keep going back to the same one.

Why?

It’s not that I have anything against any of those other beach points. In fact, each one offers something different and unique. (I even know which one is my second favorite point.)

So why do I keep going back to the same one?

The answer is simple. It’s my second home.

I’ve spent half my life, or more than half, traveling and staying by the ocean. I have pictures from when I was one or two, my mom holding me under the arms, so I could stand on the edge of the shore where sand and water meet to become accustomed to the ocean waves.

But where is here?

Here, the place I call my second home, is not one I’m willing to give away freely. Sure, other people know about this place. Of course, they do. But I’m still not willing to share its name freely. (Of course, the argument could be made that my second home is really the ocean, therefore, any beach point would do. But I’ve been to beaches I just don’t care for, so that’s not necessarily true. No, this is my spot. This my second home. And there’s something about it that makes me want to stay forever.)

It’s a place where the ocean breathes salt air, where the waves caress the shore, where the golden sun rises and reflects over the mirror of water, where seagulls soar and children play, and where peace can be found (even on rainy days). To me, it’s a place of magic.

Sure, I can tell you the best place to get breakfast or taffy or chocolate or fudge or pizza. I can tell you the best place, well the best street, in town to do shopping. I can even tell you the best store to go to if you need something for your dog or if you just want to spoil the sweet thing. But, to me, it’s more than the shopping and the food. It’s about the ocean.

Over the years I’ve learned every nook and cranny of this beach. And I’ve been lucky enough for the ocean to share her secrets with me. I’ve learned to read her like an open book, knowing when the tides have changed or when a storm is coming or when the rip tides are strong. I’ve learned the ocean and the shore she loves and I don’t believe there’s another place quite like it.

On Top of the World

It’s 199 steps to the top.

It’s always been 199 steps to the top.

But, somehow, it felt easier this time around.

Maybe it was because I had done it before or because it wasn’t a steamy 90 degree day.

Whatever the reason, after 199 steps, I made it to the top of the world.

At least that’s how it feels when you’re standing at the top of a lighthouse. (And I know there are taller lighthouses. For instance, the Absecon is 216 steps and there are others that have even more, but standing at the top of any lighthouse gives the feeling of being on top of the world.)

So, we climbed the Cape May Lighthouse one step at a time. The cast iron spiral staircase wound its way up through the interior of the lighthouse. Every so often there was a landing with a window or, the further up we went, a porthole. Each looked out at the world from a different height, changing the perspective of the viewer. As the distance between where we were and the top diminished, the steps narrowed. At the top there was a door that led outside or, as I like to think of it, the top of the world.

Stepping through the door and out onto the balcony two things happened: 1.) a strong wind immediately hits you and 2.) you’re struck by the gorgeous view while also realizing just how high up you are at that moment in time.

All around the lighthouse a strong wind hits from every angle. It’s probably partially because of how high up you are, but also the wind blowing inland from the ocean. It wasn’t a cold wind, but it was cold enough to send goosebumps up and down my legs. Still, there was a part of me (okay, let’s be honest, all of me) that didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to make the trip back down. To this day I’m still not sure if it was the fact that I was with my special someone, or the peace I felt, or the view. Or, maybe, it was a combination of all three.

And that brings me to the view, the gorgeous view. You can see the parking lot, the town, the beach, the old WWII bunker, the ocean, and all the people (who resemble the size of ants) walking around below. I imagine this is how birds must feel when they fly. But it’s also one of those moments when you realize how small you are in the grand scheme of the world. Looking out at all that is around – all the places, all the people, all the beauty – it serves as a reminder just how big and beautiful the world is while we are simply one small part of it.

But in this place that feels like being on top of the world, of imagining this is how birds must feel, of lifting your own metaphorical winds and letting the wind take you higher and higher until you’re soaring over the ocean waves, of realizing we’re all just one small part of a bigger story, there’s also one simple fact that doesn’t need to be so philosophical. And that fact is the undeniable beauty which surrounds us.

The Ocean and Me

As soon as I caught the scent of the briny marshes, I knew we were close. My heart skipped a beat with anticipation as I leaned my head out the window a little further, wind brushing my face and tossing my hair. I closed my eyes, breathing in the salt laden air. My entire body relaxed. It was only a matter of time before we reached the ocean.

I imagined it was similar to seeing a lover after years apart. The soul knows who it’s meant to be with as much as it recognizes the places it’s meant to be. And my soul is meant to be by the ocean. It’s where I find I’m most at peace.

Each day the sand was cold and the water was colder. At least during the early morning and late evening hours. But, I’ve found, those are the best times. Those are the times when the beach is deserted and I’m the only one there. I can freely walk along the shore with my thoughts, or a blank mind. I can listen to the seagulls cry as they glide above the rolling waves, watch the sandpipers (at least that’s what I think they are) down by the shoreline as they scurry away from incoming waves. I can watch the sand and the sea meet again and again, their love for each other never diminishing. And I can listen to the ocean breathing beside me – in, out, in, out – as waves roll onto the shore and recede back out to sea.

I’ve always felt connected to the ocean in a way I have difficulty explaining. Part of me feels that my words can’t truly do those thoughts and feelings justice. (It’s similar to describing how one feels about a lover. How are the feelings of overwhelming, heart-bursting, insanely happy, meant to be forever love supposed to be described? I believe both are things that must be experienced to be truly understood.) But whether my words bring my thoughts and feelings to life the point still remains the same – I feel connected to the ocean and it’s a place meant for the soul.  

He Said

he told me I was difficult
that I was hard to handle
that I was broken, flawed
that I wasn’t enough
that no one would ever love me
and I almost believed it
until
I met someone
who told me
that I was strong
that I was ambition
that I was beautiful
that I was enough
he told me he’d love me, always

Simplicity

night falls
stars rise
hold your hand in mine
wrapped in your strong embrace
your breath breaks upon my face
sweetness
pure and simple
as pale moon light
slips through the blinds
our fingers intertwined
while your heart beats constant
next to mine