~a morning at sunset lagoon~

02 Jun

moving through the blueberry bushes

and the prickly wild rose hips,

high above the shoreline,

emerging close to the edge of a jagged cliff,

a silhouette

in the rising sun

caught my eye.


a tattered baseball cap

with the brim facing behind it;


wearing loose- fitting jeans

that bagged down to his sneakers

appeared a short heavy fella,

with a sleeveless “New England Patriots” tee shirt.

he was holding

in one hand,

elbow creased, 

catching a glitter in the morning sun,

a shiny chrome

tin cup.


from the top of the ledges,

trickling through hard coastal gray rock.

meandering downhill through the cliff walls

a path,

practically vertical,

flowed steeply and precariously

between sparse clumps of sea grass

and rose hip strays.


I could see from my position below,

on the beach,

the thin lined path;

like a small sand spring emerging

into a narrow light tan stream.

leading you down

to a primarily small beach

hidden in a rocky lagoon;

following it

would take you to the larger

more popular beaches.


now low tide:

disappearing at the bottom

through a crevice in the rocks—

it poured itself

onto a small two to three foot

sandy coastline; with shallow off shore

algae-haloed rocks

with scattered tide flowing seaweed.


this pathway,

a short cut to the beaches,

and my often taking a shot of tequila,

with a salty lemon squeeze,

have watched people—

some with children,

some carrying beach chairs.

with skill and ignorance

managing the risk;

“if they did not slip,

trip, fall,

or worst yet, lose a child”

to land safely,

then traverse the small-secluded beach

I was sitting on,

God bless them.

I’ve seen a lot of impressive slides

But, so far

all observed descents

have been successful

not to mention

my status of insobriety.


after descending to the lagoon

—until high tide

or sunset,

it was “go over the dunes”

to the more popular

nearby beaches.


still curious,

stopping my thinking:

I watched him

walk, with confidence,

 away from the sandy

descending trail earlier described.

from my vantage point,

he seemed calm, cool, and collected.


he would take his bearings,

take a sip from his cup,

then continue off course

from the only way down;


that’s where he was going.


more bearings taken,

he would take a sip from his cup;

i would shake my head each time

and wait on the shot

of tequila.

then going in-between

a waist high prickly scrub,

he came to a flat, bare,

good size ledge;

a bird’s eye view of the sea,

the cove below,

Good Job!

he kept looking down and around.

his eyes strayed out over the cove

and down to the beach.

looking out over the sea,

he took a very long sip from his cup.


I was sure he was taking,

a final bearing before his retreat

to his camp site.

looking down again,  

as if studying a blank blackboard

that was about to be written on,

he put his cup down

by his feet

near the edge.


to my astonishment,

this huge round man

began to take downward steps;

clinging to the edge.


Convinced that this man

was about to kill himself,

I continued to watch.


hugging the wall

belly first,

one hand gripping the ledge

and the other searching crevices

on the cliff,

he started taking a groping “baby” step,

balancing himself,

 as steady as a circus clown

 on a high wire,

he moved about a foot down.

he slowly picked up his cup,

from the ledge

took a sip,

then cautiously put it down

by his right foot

secured on a jutting

out cliff wall edge.

gingerly proceeding downward

another half a foot or so.

anchored himself,

and would take a sip from his cup.

again with grace,

putting it down at his right foot

on another

cliff wall edge.


i held my breath many times,

taking shot after shot

squeeze after lemon squeeze

salt now saliva,

until he reached,

with ample space, a thick small flat ledge

protruding out from the cliff;

for him, to stand on.

I was in complete awe.

no more steps,

at least not visible to me,

were available.


It must have been

a fifteen-foot drop

of sheer pockmarked ocean wall;

it was straight down

to shallow tidal pools

nestled between protruding rocks,

covered with brown and green,

snails, barnacles and weaving seaweed.


with effortless motion,

as if he had done this before,

plopped himself down on the ledge,



with that pensive look,

took his bearings holding his glittering tin cup,

now shining in the full bright morning sun

he took a short sip

as he sat there

dangling his feet.


he was not going anywhere.

he was at the end of a very difficult descent.

I began wondering,

if and how— on God’s great earth,

would he go back up, the way he so miraculously came



i couldn’t imagine

he would kill himself

from that height.

I was mesmerized and impressed.


“oh, shit”!

I remember bursting aloud

when he suddenly in one motion,

stretched one leg downward.

his left leg dangling

then the right leg

sliding little by little


freeing both legs, toes dangling

away from the cliff wall

releasing his buttocks,

last to be clutching the edge,

released themselves

along with the rest of his body.


hanging with his finger tips

grasping the edge,

holding his weight away from the wall

with one hand, the other hand

extended with a wiggling tin cup,

(bottom facing down,

reflecting the dark shadow

of the cove’s floor).


It seemed to take forever.

it was slow motion —watching ease,

gentleness, and with eminent grace

dangle for a moment;

then drop onto the rocks

and seaweed below.


he was not committing suicide;

he was just getting down.


he landed

on slippery feet

with a lot of splattering

skittering, swaying back and forth.

then, as quick as a wink,

he was standing

quite erect and without injury;

as far as I could see.


he put his cup down,

pulled his pants up a bit,

actually quite a bit;

then pulled his tee shirt away

from his wet body to bellow out

under an incoming sea breeze.

taking his bearing

at the twenty or so feet,

of slippery seaweed -encircled rocks,

he picked up his cup

and took a long sip.


without hesitation

and without any surprise—

he danced, stepped, glided,

skipped, and jumped.

with a glittering tin cup

held high in the air.

and, his other arm

swaying back and forth

to keep his balance,

he landed without a sound

in the deep soft sand

of the coastline.


His brow beaded with sweat,

and his round cheek’s rosy,

he never looked back.


walking along the edge

of the low tide watermark,

passing by me,

his bright-blue eyes caught mine.

he stretched out this huge grin,

showing bright white teeth,

and with clear sincerity,

said “Another great Morning, eh?”

and was gone.


“. . .the solid ground underneath our feet, which is there whether we know it or not, to receive us when our own private edifices crumble away, so that I feel as if a great terror for all whom I love, as well as for myself, had passed away.”

“Solid Ground”

Caroline Stephan (1872)

Quaker Spirituality


Posted by on June 2, 2019 in Poetry


2 responses to “~a morning at sunset lagoon~

  1. ZQ

    June 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm



  2. dsnake1

    June 2, 2019 at 10:07 am

    What was in his cup? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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