Willipa Bay


Every time I land on the Washington coast, there I am: young, seeing the Pacific for the first time. The second time. The third. Every time. How I used to need the Harvard T-shirt bought at a garage sale. How I’ve always had a book with me. Reading: trying to find the answers. Answers. Whatever answer made sense for that trip.

This trip I bring Mark Nepo, who says there is no answer, that the questions keep him alive. I bring my deep sadness at passing time. I bring my middle age tears, which thankfully stop falling for the entire 3-day trip. I can’t find a new book to buy at the bookstore. I grab a bracelet instead. One for my mom, too. The beads similar to the necklace that hung in her room my entire childhood; the one that now hangs in my office.

How much I leave behind only to find it’s all here. The same me, looking for a T-shirt to wear that gives me confidence. Yet I’ve managed to instill confidence in the girls who travel with me. The ones who buoy me with their singing. They sing in tune together with no soundtrack.

Chris still travels with me. I’m still the passenger, slowly learning the coast. How Long Beach juts out, one edge of Willipa Bay. How even the robins look exotic here. How their red breasts are enough. I stand still and let their flying fill me. I am always arriving. I bring my questions with the small knowing that there are no answers. Only this: the robins flying along the tops of the eel grass along Willipa Bay, my family ahead of me walking along the edges of the muddy trail.

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