Morning, Orcas

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Contributor: Barbara Carlton

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This is the ritual: stand naked
on the bluff before dawn and watch
the night begin to melt at its edge;
watch the hills across the water emerge
as shapes reflected in glass, for no air moves;
watch a band of light spread coral
at the horizon like a breath of grace;

pretend you are the first human standing, on
the first morning, the uses of air and forest, land
and sea still to be discovered: it’s just you
and the earth, all one, and the smells
of cedar and salt water make you want to run,
shout, be still, all at once;

watch the sun breach the ridge and drift
into the sky, where you can’t look at it
any longer; the breeze that rises
with the day swirls against your skin and
riffles the surface of the water, gusting drops
of sunlight toward you.

Reach for them. Understand you will
never touch, for you are separate now.

Later, run to Diamond Lake and watch the diamonds
skitter across the surface like wind made light,
while two ravens, who have been here since the beginning,
circle in the eddy overhead.

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I am a writer and architect living in the San Diego, California, area. My parents are long dead and my children are grown. It's a good vantage point for thinking.


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