It may alarm you to know that I write poetry. I don’t do it as often as I used to. I’m more prosaic now, I guess. I write a lot of fiction. But once in a while, a moment strikes me. More on that in a minute.
I wandered over to the central Brevard County, Florida, beaches today to take photos. It wasn’t easy finding a crossover that was open. Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach were especially hard-hit by Hurricane Nicole. There’s a condo building in Satellite Beach where waves scoured away some of the sand UNDER it, but it still stands.
I didn’t go there, but I walked a short stretch in Indian Harbour Beach and was stunned by how much sand had been eaten away. It’s not just that so many of the dune crossovers are trashed; it’s that several feet of sand that used to support them is just gone. You can see on their damaged legs how high the sand used to go. In some cases, concrete footings hang in midair.
Sadly, there are homes on the precipice too. We might not have quite as much damage as Volusia County, but these residents face a very real danger from extreme erosion. I can’t help but think we’re building sand castles in the face of climate change, and the tide is turning.
As I walked, my eyes were drawn from the damage to the piles of seashells. There weren’t a lot of fancy ones – I can’t remember the last time I found a whelk here. I used to live close to the beach, a five-minute walk, back when I moved here more than twenty years ago. I walked the beaches all the time and found some beautiful shells. But today, even in the piles of seemingly unremarkable shells, color caught my eye.
And then a poem materialized. And it’s about a lot more than walking on the beach after a storm. You’ve survived the past few years. It’s been hard, right? I know it has been for me. But I needed to hear this from the universe. Maybe you need to hear it too.STORM DAMAGE
You go looking for damage
in the wake of a storm,
one of so many, so often, so now.
Beach steps are twisted.
Homes hang off a cliff.
But you’re distracted by the shells,
bounty washed up,
coins of the deep
and somehow you find room in your pockets
you didn’t know you had
for patterns and pinks and beauty.
The sun is out today.
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