Photo by Judy Dykstra-Brown


Do I walk the long kilometers of beach
to look for the next shell
or stand stable, like that woman
casting and recasting her hook,
patiently waiting to pull her world
in to her?

I’m gathering things
that I’ll collect into stories–pinning them down
to use like words.
Nothing wrong in finding meaning
through a piece of driftwood, a stone or shell.
Objects are only things
we cast our minds against
like images against a screen–
a shadow glimpsed crossing a window shade.

My shadow cast in front of me
is such a different thing
from one I cast behind.
In the first, I am constantly hurrying
to catch up to what I’ll never catch up to.
In the other, I am leaving behind
what I can only keep by walking away from it.

I take this place along with me
in clear images–
not as they were,
but as my mind has cast them;
so every picture
taken of the same moment
is different,
each of us seeing it through our unique lens.

We cast these things in bronze or silver-gelatin,
stone, clay
or poetry.

A grandma
holds out pictures of her children
and her grandchildren.
See? Her life’s work.
And then this and this,
without further effort on her part.

I share stories of children I don’t know
who gently unwind fishing line from a struggling gull,
hearts found on the beach
or other treasures
nestled in a pile of kelp.
I find my world in both these findings and departings;
the leaving each morning to go in search of them
the part I find most exhilarating–
perhaps teaching this
woman of the death-themed night-terrors
not to worry.
That longer leaving is just a new adventure.

People who do not remember
let me slip away
when I would have held on,
given any encouragement.
Yet fingers, letting go, flex
for that next adventure.

Life is
all of us letting go
taking that next step
away from
and to.

A white shell.
I have left it there
turned over
to the brown side,
so someone else
can discover it, too.

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Image Search—Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind. (Although the eleventh image was of a shadow on a beach, I’ve elected to reproduce my own photo here.)

7 thoughts on “Leavings

  1. stephanie D

    Life is all of us letting go constantly
    Taking that next step away from and to.

    That is lovely Judy, It has been a pleasure spending time with you in Lamanz, and you have touched my heart with both your writing and your presence. Thank you for your friendship !



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