time and tide: six word friday love

when I was very young we

had no running water. we would

take baths and other watery chores

in the creek. when I was

still quite young, we moved back

to L.A. -less than a mile

from the beach. in between the

school years, I spent summers with

my Dad at Lake Tahoe. I

am a Pisces. and while I

never quite became one with the

ocean as I might like, it

soothes my soul like nothing else.

when I stand before (or in)

the ocean, I know that it

is immeasurably bigger, deeper, and more

vast than any problem I have.

in the face of this grand

scale and eternal rhythm and repetition,

I am put in my place.

the ocean is not concerned about

bills, or school, or emotional crap.

It is just there. Forever there.

The waves swelling, curling, breaking, retreating.

swelling, curling, breaking, retreating, ad infinitum.

much as the sharp edges of

a broken piece of glass are

tumbled to a softer, smoother edge,

my sharp edges of pain or

sorrow are sanded down to a

dull and less cutting surface. I

find solace in the sound, in

the smell, in the sight of

it. that is the main reason

why last week we released my

Mom’s ashes into the ocean. aside

from her love of the ocean

and the life found within it,

I needed to know that she

was free and in this place

of worship for me. free eternally.

of course, the ocean in Oregon

is not the balmy, palmy beach

of my childhood. it was a

sunny day made ridiculously cold by

the wind that whipped in from

the sea. we braved the weather

in jackets and swim clothes. huddled

under blankets and towels. bringing back

the literal definition of sand wich.

I found myself, in the afternoon,

standing in the surf with my

aunt on my left, releasing my

Mom (and her favorite dog, Rusty)

into the ocean from the little

green bucket that we had used

to mix them in in order

to keep them from sailing away

in the wind onto unsuspecting beachgoers.

the surf was traveling to the

left. I found myself standing in

the surf with my aunt on

my right, releasing my bucketful of

ashes to the sea. the salt

sculptures that I and my son

made already being claimed by the

water’s action. She was a little

bit reluctant to leave the bucket.

We stood there as the tide

brought each wave just a tad

higher up our legs to where

we had tucked up our pants.

trying to get the last couple

of inches to let go of

the bucket. to let go. to

let her go. to let us

let her go. and so, not

crying, but laughing at the idea

of it all. and how she

would have appreciated the humor

because that’s how we roll. together,

as a family, steeped in unconventionality.

so if you should find yourself

in the sea, have a laugh

and think of mom. and me.

I was inspired to write this post specifically today by this post at Squashed Bologna and, of course, Six Word Fridays at Melissa’s

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ayala
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 11:56:58

    wow, Brook, this is moving and beautiful. When I am out at sea, I will think of her and Rusty.


  2. Molly@Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 12:15:36

    Yes, just beautiful. Water does soften those sharp edges, doesn’t it? xo


  3. Molly@Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 12:16:21

    As does humor.


  4. Melissa
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 15:42:34

    Brook, loving this and you today.
    I live in an ocean town in so cal, the sunny-but-tourist-filled oceans of your youth and my adulthood. I’ll remember your mom and pray for peace for you next time I smell the salty air. xo
    (PS – unconventional families are the best kind.)


  5. Kate B
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 18:11:30

    This is exquisite. My favorite portion was about the ocean putting us in our place . . . wonderful work here, Brooke. Great poem!


  6. mypajamadays
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 08:48:16

    Oh Brooke – all of it was amazing, but I think my favorite line was “she was a little bit reluctant to leave the bucket”. I think I will forever think a little bit of you and your mom the next time I stand in the ocean with my family.


  7. MommyRachelle
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 15:45:42

    lovely, Brooke. To roll unconventionally is the only way to move. Your subtle humor here is so beautiful (unsuspecting beach goers likely appreciate your effort)

    And this: “to let go. to

    let her go. to let us

    let her go. and so, not

    crying, but laughing at the idea

    of it all. “

    is a magically healing line.


  8. melgallant
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 17:35:50


    I grew up by the ocean too and completely understand your affinity to it. There is nothing like it. Nothing at all, and it soothes me too. A lovely tribute. I don’t live by the ocean now but the next time I head back home, I will think of you and your mom, and have that laugh you request.


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