I walk toward the ocean 
breathing in the briny salt air

The stretch of sand seems much smaller
than what I remember as a child

And yet everything else
feels reassuringly the same

Wispy blades of dune grass sway in the breeze
as clusters of seagulls squawk overhead

White-capped waves join the chorus
crashing gently against the shore

Blue waters rush up onto the sand
and then retreat just as gracefully

The ocean’s susurrations
are a welcome lullaby

Why did it take me so long
to return?

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Musings on Fifty

I will wear my wrinkles well
and let the gray come to my hair.
I will resist the temptation to
measure my worth by the lack of soft skin
around my middle.

I will remember my mother and my mother’s mother
and my other grandmother and all the aunts
and I will feel privileged
to join a club of
supremely strong, wise and
beautiful women.

I will not bow down
while looking into the mirror
half-expecting to see a younger image.
I will smile with each memory of youth
that reminds me of how much
I have learned
from so many glorious mistakes.

Yet I will allow myself to pause
just for a moment
as I realize
how our bodies begin to fail us
just as we are beginning
to understand life.