Now I Know Why Californians Love the Ocean

You walk
warm sand, bare toes, down the beach
white foam nips you
and splashes
cold, cold,
but you go deeper
and with each step, warmer.
You realize
the water’s perfect
and waves swim up, powerful.
They smack you down,
knock you off your feet,
then scoop you up again
and gently carry you
like a reprimanding mother
back towards the shore.
She drops you off, but you
fight your way out again
through the current
and foamy white surf.
Before you, a silky green wave
folds like a sheet
and just as it reaches you, you know
this is your wave.
The giant comes
you turn
and it engulfs you,
knocks your feet back, and throws you
up the beach
and you emerge
blinking in the sunlight
reflected glaringly off the waves.
You have been sharply scolded.
The salt water burns your throat.
You wade back up the beach
and take a drink
and sit on your towel
with the sand sticking to your feet
and you look out at the waves
and eat sweet, seedless
Nappa Valley grapes
large and round and shiny as a marble,
but you still can’t get the taste
of the ocean salt out of your mouth.





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