Posted by: jevcat | April 8, 2010

Easter Aftermath

After the hundred yard dash of Holy Week and Easter, I should have buckled down to the job hunt again this week, to networking, to cleaning, to organizing, to all those things.  And I have looked at the Idealist listings every day.  But we’ve been having summer weather in the first week of April, and I’ve been outside enjoying, spending a lot of time out at Great Kills, walking in the still mostly bare woods and on the beach, sitting on the rocks while the spray bounces up.  Unemployment has few benefits – being able to relax and enjoy this on a weekday is one of them.

Out on the point there’s mostly reeds and scrub, but there’s one tree that I tease my beloved is “his” because he’s photographed it so many times, in so many ways, in all seasons.  I’m relieved to find it still standing, where many elsewhere on the island are not after the nor’easter a couple of weeks ago.  I come at it by a different way today and, for the first time, I notice it’s actually not a single tree but a trinity of them, three slender trunks so close that from most angles it appears to be a single tree.  Perhaps at the root it is:  theological implications to ponder.

Morning smells different than any other time at the beach.  I think I could recognize the time of day just by its scent, and it brings back almost tangible memories of childhood summer mornings on the Jersey shore.

The storms have taken several feet of beach since the fall, and in some places the sand’s been undercut and the dunes have been re-shaped.  The sand seems softer, finer than it used to be.  It cups the heels of my bare feet like a caress, welcoming me back.

Not everything has changed:  The ospreys are back, the nest repaired and hopeful – what I want to be.  Maybe that’s why I’m here.

Shags fly low over the water, dunk, then stand with wings awkwardly akimbo to dry off.  Skimmers come in low, too, in larger groups, and oyster catchers, St. Brigid’s birds, flash their chevroned wings and bright orange beaks, and go peep-peep-peeping loudly along.

The sea is mostly calm, but with ripples from the breeze that chase each other in across the shallow stretches along the curve of Crooke’s Point.  I wonder if there’s anything as wonderful as a calm sea?  An angry one is magnificent, but, like God, a calm one has chosen to be beneficent today, and I am glad.

A golden retriever, here with his family, dashes in and out of the water, then comes over and shakes, baptizing us.  The family’s girls squeal, and the father and I laugh.  I say to him, “It’s a doggy blessing:  At Easter Vigil the priest sprinkled us with holy water and this is the canine version.”

Ladybugs are out in force, polka-dotting the sand at the water’s edge.  Some are “turtled”, and I try to turn them right-side again, but there are too many, and the next wave comes and washes them away.  Later, I will tell my beloved and he will say, “Food for the fish.”  When I say it makes me sad, he teases me, asking, “Don’t you like fish?”  I say, “I like ladybugs more – but fish taste better.”  I do have to grant him, though, that I’ve never actually eaten a ladybug.

There are lots of battered shells, many just fragments, and worn down to fragile shapes consisting mostly of mother of pearl, beautiful in their brokenness, if only to me.  They’ve been tumbled and scoured, the way I feel a lot of the time lately.  I’m halfway through my fifties, and I think much more about illness, decline, and death than I used to when I was younger, but suddenly, seeing these shells shimmer in the light, I find myself thinking:  This is how I want to be at the end:  bits of me broken, maybe, but all that’s dull and dark worn away, nothing left between me and reflecting the glorious light.


  1. Janet you are good. Many times I have sat on the beach and pondered but never could of come up with anything like yours. Keep it up.


  2. I second Norma. You’re an amazing writer of spiritual reflections.
    Re: lady bugs. You “made a difference to that one…and that one…” (I assume you know about the “Starfish Story.”)
    Oh…and thanks for the image of the Holy Trinitree!

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