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Day Five: A Month on a Barrier Island

Jun. 27, 2010
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Stepped out on the sun-streaked deck early
this morning, glasses fogging, thick north wind
riffling down from the pier. So I headed up

Route 12 to New Inlet, seven miles
of hard stepping, shirt off, thighs burning, head down,
sweat dripping under my shades into my beard.

At the turn, six kayaks off in the Sound,
I stopped gritting my teeth,
got off the bike and stretched my hams, more

sweat dripping into sand. On the breezy way
back, I am reminded how the wind
on an island changes everything,

the current, the fish, the color, the temperature
of the water, a shoal forming or breaking up,
mosquitoes or not, terns or not, cool or hot,

 the wreck appearing at the end of the pier
or not. Hours later a gull’s feather skipping along
the windy beach, a towel over my left leg, head tilted,

I urge myself to remember before I forget
once again and go inside, how endless is this wind,
how the source is not the source, how

today the wind blows one way, tomorrow another,
and, gusts blowing tears from my eyes, everyone
on the island leaning into it.

Steven Lewis writes: "After seven dizzying years in Madison, marriage and the first of seven babies, I stumbled into graduate school at UW-M in the early 70s. There my dear friend and enduring mentor Jim Hazard gave me a nifty flashlight to navigate my way through the self-reflective shadows and into what I now understand is the illuminating voice.  It is the most valuable gizmo in the battered tool chest I carry daily up to my writing room in the Shawangunk Mountains and into workshops at Empire State College, the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute and the windy beaches of Hatteras Island, NC."


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