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Upon Leaving the Ocean

Updated: Oct 24, 2022


The Pacific Ocean as seen from the coastline of Pebble Beach, CA on a stormy day in December (Photo by James Williamson)

Saying goodbye to a home is always hard, but the beautiful natural world of coastal California was especially painful to leave behind. I loved to look for sea glass and watch the seabirds and the waves, something very unique to living on the coast. "Upon Leaving the Ocean" is a reassurance I wrote for myself and my family that we would take a piece of that special place with us in our memories.


Come, hear the sound

of a pelican’s cry.

Come, come; it’s calling, calling.

Nor does it matter the shade of the sky.

Come, watch the waves falling, falling.

The sun could be bright, lighting trinkets galore.

The fog could swoop in, embracing the shore.

And you could stay searching there forevermore.

Come, watch the waves falling, falling.


Could we go back

to dig in our hands,

seeking smooth forms

among grains of sand?

To hone in our gazes,

make them sharp, like a bird’s

or watch the spray dance

a ballet? Rest assured:


The ocean promises to remember you,

ingrained in your mind as if by a spell.

If longing is magic, then surely it’s light,

the clear noonday gleam of a shell.

Ah, an abalone shell!

A treasure to mind and eye.

Time does its sculpting so quietly there:

shells into sand by and by.

And the clouds mark its passage

not in minutes or hours

but in the sway of anemones

like undersea flowers,

and over the water

hold some kind of power

unheeded by seagulls

atop rocky towers.


Remember the sound

of a pelican’s cry.

Remember its calling, calling.

Let stay in your eye the shade of the sky.

Remember the waves falling, falling.

Place your palms in the pebbles.

Feel the spray on your face.

Watch as the tide leaves footprints erased,

the foam pulling back its frothy white lace.

Drift asleep to the waves falling, falling.


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