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Shell Time

sea shellsBeaches lend themselves to pondering eternity, and often, in Januarys, I’ve visited Florida and contemplated the past and the future. If you ask me, the continuum of time is fleeting, almost immaterial. We can see ahead and behind in the families playing at the edge of the waves, the generations spelled out for us when a toddler tests the wet sand with his toes while grasping his grandmother’s hand. The two are interchangeable, in a way, different spokes on the same spinning wheel.

Now that I’m home, I’m back on my couch as usual, writing. I’m deep into the weedy first draft of another novel, a futuristic sci fi story about an isolated family and the climate change stuff that always troubles me. Some days, I write notes about the characters or look up related research like shearing sheep or the length of the sunless winter in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska (two months). Other days, I get a few pages of the story down.

The days and pages will add up, true enough, or vanish. I want to be sure that each one has its own beauty. It helps to stop and be dazzled by the shells.

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