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A Line Alive

August 24. 2017.

Today is coastline.

Is bunchberries in bloom and green. Is no rain and mud puddles and bogs and windswept barrens. Is jellyfish and kelp and tiny black fish. Is slick rock and a man falling. A father falling and another breaking his hiking stick and another almost falling and jamming his fingers against a many-eyed birch.

Today is coastline and flowers.

Bog aster, fragrant waterlily, many-rayed goldenrod, and the damp shrug of the turtlehead.

Today is a coastline, a line alive.

Ledges, points, heads, bluffs, harbors, coves, rocks, and holes with the names of memory: Turn of Bald Head, White Spot, Sculpin Island Cove, Useless Bay, Bread and Cheese Point, Cape Bone, Cape Spear, Mrs. Cantwell’s Face, Dog Hole, Petty Harbor, Otterbury Point, The Cribbies, Merry Meeting Cove, The Dial, The Blight, Alexander Head, Dick French Rock, Maggoty Cove.

And me too fast on the coastline trail to the new suspension bridge. The bridge to the little fishing village of La Manche, slammed by a storm in the 60s, so the plaque says, a community washed out to sea. Today we slow down. Me, my brothers and their sons--my nephews--we scout around the rubble, the stairs leading nowhere, the crumbling rock walls, the broken foundations of those long ago dwellers.

They're gone, but we feel them in the north wind.

Today is coastline and nephews.

One twenty and lovesick, pained because cellphones don't have signals here. One nineteen who can jump over a picnic table the long way and catch a frisbee with his foot. One fifteen who is curious about everything, alive to the world of this coast, who stops often to pick blueberries.

He even stops to help the falling fathers.

Today a long, winding, living line.

Gullies and gulches and waves throwing sparks over the rocks.

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