The tall bay grasses, with their roots

entwined around salt-water mussels

and their leaves parted for

the occasional white egret’s nest,

silently mark their time

by the ocean’s tides:

watermarks of highs and lows,

faded lines of flourishing and despairing,

evidence of being alternately

overwhelmed and exposed

every six hours.

I marvel at their life lines

and think that I cannot help but do the same:

to chart both past and future

by the joys and failures,

the deaths and births,

the lows and highs,

the holding fast and the letting go.

Have I told you, God, about

life’s tides in this year alone?

About the five deaths in four months?

About unexpected new opportunities?

About laughing hard at a funeral, and

raging over a slowly-birthing joy?

Yet you, the One who is above all and beyond all,

you mark the time in a blink, like a dream,

while I struggle through these tides.

Perhaps I should not expect any more of life

than the grasses.

Remnants of long conversations with those

gifted in mindfulness and presence and being

whisper that I should let the highs and lows

simply be ….

but my brain and spirit clearly missed

those gifts from the start

(and the tides will still come

whether I am mindful or not),

so instead I will pray for mercy as I cling

through flourishing and failing,

withering and renewing;

as I cling through

life’s marking of me.

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