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Surprising Joy

It’s a rare weekend of constant rain in the desert. I’m a pluviophile, a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. The steady beat of the rain on the metal overhang outside my window has, much to my surprise, temporarily suspended a weeks-long focus on gathering tax information, and poetry has taken its place. Specifically, a poem I wrote many years ago about a day at Miramar Beach in Santa Barbara, California where I witnessed a young boy at play. Just as it rose up to speak to me today, it would now like to speak to you…

Afternoon at Miramar

First memory of that day was a flash of blue / he stood where waves form a tiny cliff / and with arms outstretched like he owned the sea / flew off the small rise and landed on his rump / squealing as he slid down the gritty slope / over and over he jumped and yelled / periwinkle clothes bright against yellow sand.

Sunset blazed and still he leapt / full-body dives into a deep sandy hole / while I walked one last time toward plum-colored mist / then pushed by wind and a nearing / dark found myself trudging behind his tangled blond curls / small fingers grasped in his mom’s firm hand / a tired little boy climbing steep stairs.

It’s hard work stepping off the edge of the world / shouting each time with joy / hard work to scramble up again and again / when your bones give way to the thrill of descent and your heart pounds wild as the bottom gives / then holds.

Photograph by Barry Shapiro


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