The Beauty Of

by Randi Abel 5 months ago in nature poetry

(Or, My Love Letter to Coming of Age in a New England Summer)

The Beauty Of

The Beauty Of

(Or, My Love Letter to Coming of Age in a New England Summer)

Written by Randi C. Abel

June 15, 2019

Denver, Colorado

All Rights Reserved

All art is imitation

Upon imitation

Upon imitation

On and on

Reflections of itself

Over and over

Forever and forever

Into eternity

All of us—the artists, the dreamers—stuck

Inside those funhouse mirrors

Or so he says

But what about

The beauty of the sky

At midnight in the forest

Atop a mountain in Maine

When all the heavens are revealed

Save for what the trees hide

And the moon dims

What of campfires

And Kumbaya

And overnight canoe trips

Just to pick berries

On an island of a vast lake

In New Hampshire

For every blueberry

That made it into the bucket

At least three

Made it into our mouths

And there is baseball—

Oh, baseball!

Weighted

With decades of pain

That kids these days

Will never know

There is Nothing

Like Italian sausage

Peppers and onions

Juices dripping down

My drunken chin

Standing room only

In the mob

Outside the gates

Waiting to get in

And all our banners on display

The blueberry beer

At Beer Works beforehand

Never to be missed

And there is no forgetting

Concerts at Great Woods

(It will always be Great Woods)

A summer must

We danced barefoot in the grass

Drunk, stoned, possibly high

On something called a goo ball

Scored in the parking lot

By a laughing man

Who could neither confirm nor deny

The ingredients

Except for peanut butter

Because allergies

The world spun round us,

Our tie-dyed band t-shirts

Slung over our shoulders

For safe keeping

So we could double fist our beers

And incense-scented tapestries

For blankets

Even though

We came of age

Twenty-odd years

After the hippies

But that was my generation:

Classic rock and folk music

To top them all

Except, of course

The Great DMB

And Phishy ten-minute songs

Legends all

We’re still figuring out

Where we belong,

Our Lost Generation

Midlife is upon us now

Some of our kids

Are having kids

And some of us are still dreaming

Of having our own

Most of us are still wondering

Where the adults are

Because despite

Nearly four decades behind us

We still feel

Like lost little kids

Ourselves

But as for the beauty—the art—

There will always be the practice

Of preventing the condensation

Of a Dunks iced coffee

With a second cup:

Not so environmentally friendly

But

Mandatory for all

Card-carrying New Englanders

Worth their salt

And speaking of salt—

New England would be

Nothing without it

Salt of the sea

Salt of the people

For there is always,

Always

The singularity of the sea

That lives in memories

Of summers spent

In a cabin down the Shore

I had to navigate

A dozen rotaries to find it

But soon the map became

Imprinted

Upon my muscles’ memories

And I could drive there in my sleep

At the beach house

There will always be

Those memories of

Lazy days in the sun and

Board games and VHS tapes

When it rained

Warm nights

Wet breezes

Windows open

Sleeping better than

I ever have or will

Lulled by the lullaby

Of the sea

The sea calls out endlessly

The same song

Trying to woo the moon

Closer to the earth

With her siren sounds

Duty bound

To go in

To go out

To go in

To go out

But she only succeeds

In rocking us to sleep

At every moment

The sea is shifting

As she reaches the shore

And goes back out again

A different entity entirely

Yet she is also as constant as

The ticking by of time

As surely as the sun rises and the moon sets

The sea will change and be unchanged

Much like me,

She, the sea

Now there’s the taste of clams

Come alive on my tongue

Steamed with white wine and butter

Or fried whole with their bellies

Bringing life to real chowder

Or found alive in the sand

Dug up for a clambake

During magic hour

There’s the bonfire on the beach

That leaves us smelling

Of smoke and sea

For days, weeks

I hate the summer now—

Too hot, too sticky

But summer is when

I find myself missing

Home the most

Longing for sand

And sea

And Sam Summer

In a frosted glass

Root beer floats and

Orange creamsicle soft-serve twists

A black-and-white frappe

And Philly cheesesteaks—

Fully loaded—

How else?

I’ve only to summon

Like a wizard of sorts

These memories tattooed

Upon my brain

Under my skin

In my blood

And hair

And every breath

In my very DNA

And there we are:

Driving to the beach

Sunroof open

Music loud

Singing along

Unconsciously

Short shorts

Tank tops

Spaghetti straps

And flip-flops,

Obviously

There are of course barely-there bikinis

That we untied when on our stomachs

To ensure our backs were evenly browned

Inevitably becoming boiled lobsters

After falling asleep and forgetting to flip

The smell of artificial coconut and banana

Tanning oil instead of sunscreen

Will always bring me back

How we are still

Alive and kicking

Is anyone’s guess

Could I find my way today

To that hidden beach?

You know the one

Where we were young

Or would I need GPS

Like the rest of the tourists?

My ma always said

New Englanders

May leave

Go exploring

Grow

But they always,

Always

Come home

In the end

It’s June now in Colorado

Too hot and dry for me

I’m longing, longing

For the sea

I can hear it calling me

I feel my heart beating

To the rhythm of the tide

No matter that I am landlocked now

My soul knows the sea

And the sea knows me

She calls to the moon

With her siren sounds

Duty bound

To go in

To go out

To go in

To go out

But the sea is in my blood

And so it’s me that hears her song

Instead of that faraway moon

And my soul sings back to her

For home she will always be

No matter how far away I go

Or how long I’m gone

Once a New Englander

Always a New Englander

There’s just no escaping

The memory of who you are

And how you came to be

I’m like sea glass, me

Shaped by my environment

My shine dulled by time

And edges softened

By the ocean’s dance

With destiny

Like sea glass

I have travelled

Far and wide

From the ends of the earth

To the bottom of the ocean

Through the rocky waves of the storms

And the stillness of the dawns

I’ve seen big cities

And traversed strange lands

Learned languages

Even joined a band

But, in the end,

It all comes down to this:

The Beauty Of

That Singular Art

Of Just

Living

Growing

Breathing

The salt-scented sea

The baseball games

The damp twilight grass

The music

And the firelight

And the beer

A joint passed round a circle

A guitar softly playing a tune

Laughter in the background

Those last stragglers of the party

Soaking up the good old days

Not realizing they are

A time capsule

To be remembered

On a June night

At the end of a decade

Far, far away

In a place where the ocean

Can no longer meet the air

Though I can still smell it

Somewhere in my blood

It’s The Beauty Of

The heavens open above

Save for what the trees hide

And the moon dims

For a moment, anyway

Before the tide of time

Washes it all away

All art is imitation

Or so he says

nature poetry
Randi Abel
Randi Abel
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Randi Abel

Poet and storyteller currently based out of Denver, Colorado. 

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