-NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER-
LINDA H.Y. HEGLAND
2018 Society of Professors of Education "Outstanding Book Award Honorable Mention"
Place of First Communion with Bay and Kayak
To kayak is to . . . . .
Start terrified and end up enchanted.
To face swells with fear, and instead feel thrill.
To watch the wet face of the water beneath my paddle,
And indulge in conscious ruminations and subconscious dreams.
I thought the water would flow past me with each stroke of my paddle;
Instead it flows throughme – vibrates and sings in aching muscle and sinew.
I peer at the rocks below, green-dressed and barnacle-scabbed,
I invite the water, cold and salty, to weep through my fingers.
I, too, wish to weep - I am accepted and held by the arms of this bay
Like I am no burden at all.
Like I belong.
I remember once hearing (though I will never know who uttered it)
That “the first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.”
Like I belong.
Next time I paddle, I want to be alone, solitary.
Next time I paddle, I want it to be dusk, near dark.
I want to see the stars in the sky, held below me in the water,
And believe, with all my heart, that I am kayaking the Milky Way.
Place of Ocean – Tides and Heartbeats
Me, a prairie girl, to the ocean,
Pacific, for the first time
on the far west side
of a west coast island.
The sand on the beach
I had expected to
curl my toes in soft sand
like the pictures in travel magazines.
The sand reached distant and grey
to the fog, marine mist.
I crimped my feet over its ridges,
crease after crease,
ran my tongue round bony palate of my mouth;
A roar that gorged my ears,
punctuated with bird call, screech.
I drew closer to the fog, the brume
like tinsel tears
in my hair.
Booming waves that galloped into shore,
taller than me, before they fell and shoved
themselves turbulently against the sand,
puddling and foaming, seashells and driftwood.
the sea wind dragged my hair.
the water churned round my ankles.
Pulling back to the ocean
the waves gulped the breath from me,
sucked at the blood in my veins.
I would have followed
but my earth-logged feet
remained moored in the seaweed,
clasping me to shore.