SANTA CRUZ

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Clouds hide the top
Of the island, and the cool
Mist evolves into light
Rain. We walk past the old
Homestead and campground,
Take the trail up, climb
Into the fog and shoot
Pictures of each other smiling
Cheek to cheek in sunglasses, coats
Zipped to our chins: old friends
Traveling a new path flanked
By white-chalky rock and dew
Laden spider webs . . .

And since we are walking and can’t see
Where we’re heading, our eyes
Focus on the ground, our ears
Lead us up the hill into that
Cherished chill, a blind stumbling
Toward a wolfish kind of lair,
Our breath palpable in the air. We howl
Like Zevon’s London clowns
And joke about the view: all the crow’s
Feet and wispy silver hair.
We walk and walk into the veil,
Knowing the ocean and cliff
Edges lie ahead . . . somewhere.

Wandering the fog for hours
On top of this island plateau,
The first voices we hear
Before we glimpse the sea
Are seals barking in the coves
Below. The water’s blue
Arrives and dissolves in vapor waves
As we climb down closer to the channel,
Potato Bay. I hear a rumble
In the distance, far away,

And I’m suddenly aware
Of how lucky I am to be here
And not knowing where I am,
Where I’m going, but scrabbling
My way up, then down into a hole,
Cold and backed to a boulder
In this crevice, collared
Against the wind, the fog
Loosening its grip, opening
And closing its curtains on water—
Doors and windows unlocked . . .

Our hungers fed, we walk
Back along the cliff-line
Scanning caves and craggy
Faces, teal-green pools and rusty rock,
Canoes moored on beaches
In the bay below—eagles surfing
The currents overhead.

You are sorry the sun hasn’t delighted
Our view of Santa Cruz, warmed
Us in California fashion, but
It’s a perfect day for beauty—
A day we’ve seen with more
Than our eyes, a day where God’s
Breath beads in your raven hair,
And the echoes of your laughter
Linger in my ear like water trickling
Over stone. I watch the two of you
Stroll slowly, heads down, together.
Shoulder to shoulder, you pause
And giggle, then move on
Into the mist—I stop long enough
To watch you disappear.

—for Beth & Pam

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