After one year of the school run by the religion I relentlessly followed, I spent the summer on red blasted eastern cliffs, a place of stunning earth and sky meeting on a sanded horizon; the blue heron murderously still in the glass lined bay, held fast by the hunt for the next distracted fish.

I was conflicted, half there and mostly gone, the momentum of new decisions pacing me between two worlds.

That summer I pitched too far forward to find my feet in narrow waters, so focused on the next thing that I flailed in the face of the beautiful thing. I had grown past the whimsy of what I wished for and settled with the thing most offered. It was conditional, flighty, and so far away; the compulsion to win was far enough grown that I could not rest. It doesn’t matter much what it was, or who it was, but the price I paid was high, swift and chaotic.

I wanted so much to belong with another, I could not explain it and spent years defending it, and I do not regret it.

I stayed on that windy cawing bluff for 3 months then, and for a few days when I went back, to leave the stone of what I forgot, and pick up the stone of what I argued to remember. This long fight was between the part of me that sought silent lovely things, and the part of me who believed I no longer deserved it, that my winning of one thing bankrupt me from the grace of every other thing.

On the evening of my October visit, as I was turning 50, I turned the corner of the last lit tide and saw that blue heron, different and yet the same, hunting for what belonged to him, and I gathered what was mine, the word in my open ears as clear as it was when I lived it.


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