The beauty of this place

The beauty of this place


Sweet, salted sea air     Pine and palm     Sugar sand and St. George Island – sand dollar, shark tooth   “TomTom, how you doin’?”  “I’m doin’ alright.”   Tillie Miller Bridge between here and Tiki – Plump, Gulf shrimp and Apalach oysters   Hickory smoked chicken and ribs (no rub) and sunfried jellyfish


Seagulls     Sea terns     Great blue herons     Dolphins spyhop and blow every now and then     Distant light on Dog Island in a 2:20 AM blueblacknight


Sopchoppy   Eastpoint   Panacea   Alligator Point


A few days back Julie and Artie left, again, having returned from leaving once before and we all walked this beach, beyond the pine tree point, further than any of us had gone before – sea-silvered driftwood, beheaded brown pelican in the brambles of sea grass and pine needles     Warming sun     Cool, hard-packed, low tide sugar sand under bare feet   Sassy leaping pine-stained, sepia rivulets


The laughing gull has returned each morning, greeting and reclaiming its territory and, more than likely, calling out “Sea urchin!” to the others that, eventually, return — glide, drift, rise and drop, land     Eat, stay — then, again, depart  —  leaving this length of calm, shallow bay to terns, herons and egrets to forage


The beauty of this place is as intricately delicate as the silent glideflight of eleven brown pelicans in singular formation, skimming the shallow wave crests – moving from east to west – becoming, eventually, a pulsing line disappearing into the horizon


The beauty of this place


The red smirch of Crystal hot sauce spilled at the edge of a previous high tide line, scattered with Apalachicola oyster shells from our early evening appetizers, has been consumed by the storm-driven, rough chop of last night’s rain, wind and the approaching full moon     Wind out of the Southeast, breaking diagonal crests of gunmetal gray and the red buoy strains on its chains as the tide shifts and the channel churns


There is violence in the beauty of this place, too  –  ships lost, lives swallowed whole, coyotes grab dogs, alligators grab anything


Waves meet land and visibly reverberate back into water, again –

making     unmaking     remaking


A broken buoy drifts     Freed until it’s caught on low tide sea grass before this tide turns     The sun breaches darkening, layered afternoon storm clouds to the West, while brilliantly illuminating the etched, white sandbar over there


Burble of language bounces inside my ear – “Hey! How you doin’?” heard so often it becomes as familiar and unnoticed as the wave and the air and this light


The beauty of this place is as much a mystery to me as you


Bert and Kathy, Hattie and Zack – come and met and gone     Orange and onion salad, frittatas made and shared   Al and Sandy, Sharon and Larry, Scotty, Doug, Gen and Ted     Sun-warmed, woman laughing with Pat — LaVerne with her easy, flashing Apalach smile     Kim and Tony and oystering all Monday morning across from St. Vincent because the rip was too chopped


Three brilliant, crested egrets graze along this shore, dolphins pass and blow and continue on, as heedless of us as the swarm of terns that rise and twist and glide away to feed further down on this storm-tossed, driven gloss


WOYS, Oyster Radio, 100.5 FM, plays softly as the shrouded sun journeys further West     The playful pinwheel whirls and chatters, stick jammed between the weathered 1st and 2nd boards of that well-worn picnic table     Just outside this open window, burlap oyster bag flaps


Steelwater, forbidding wind along this coast of Carrabelle     Another invisible finger whips this water, etching new (yet ancient) patterns


Tide turns, distant sandbar, barrier beach revealed     Unseen fish school as flocks follow and feed, far off


Damp, salted air     Thin, singular electric line that leads from shore to dock light               Whisper of wave and wind


The beauty of this place


No matter where I go nor what I do, the beauty of this place will taste like home as salt is in my tears


The apparent void dissolved     The horizon I can never reach will always draw me in, seeming to want to go further than my eye can see, when the greatest daring starts within


The beauty of this place…
~ ~ ~

Dedicated to: Suzanne Creamer, Stephine McDowell, Marlene Moore, Jennifer Moro, Albert Otis, Jennifer Pickett, C.J.(Joe)Pouncey, Sassy, Judi Rundel

~ ~ ~

HoHum RV Park/Carrabelle, Florida/January-February, 2004


(c)Jessan Dunn Otis / 2004-2017



5 thoughts on “The beauty of this place

  1. Julie Ulmer

    Jessan, what a pleasure to read your poetry. This one evokes such sweet memories! That was our first “January-trip” after Artie retired, and one of our best! When we met you, Al, and Sassy, we fell in love with the floor-plan of your RV … and we waited to find our own 38-J. We got one in 2009, and have really enjoyed it. Hope our paths cross again, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly Dorsey (@DorseyKelly)

    Hello Jessan- Yes, this poem does take me back to Florida….. You could be describing my hometown beach, Playalinda. I grew up with all of the beauty that you describe in your poem, “The beauty of this place”. I do think that growing up in the seventies in Titusville was like growing up in the land of the lost. The road led to the swamp, which led to the oak hammock, which led to the marshes, which led to the dunes, which led to the beach. Playalinda Beach is part of the Cape Canaveral National Seashore that surrounds the Kennedy Space Center. I worked two summers for the Youth Conservation Corp. You brought me back to the time of seagulls and salt and the sand. I admit, sometimes I really miss it. Thanks for your poem. Love Kelly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessan Dunn Otis Post author

      CD was a reader/adviser of mine when I did my graduate work at Brown University for my MFA. Thank you, Meia. I am, of course, also familiar with Carole Maso’s work. Thanks, again. Yes! Yes! Be inspired and write, Meia.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jessan Dunn Otis Post author

    Dear Julie, Some things take longer than others – my reply to your comment is one of them. Time! Whoosh! I’m delighted to know that you, finally, found that 38-J. Al and I had looked at several floor plans and, also, loved that one. We miss being on the road. Meeting you and Artie at Ho Hum is one of our singularly wonderful memories. Those oysters! That view! Oh my! If you’re ever in and/or near Little Rhody, please give us a shout out; and, let’s see if we can cross paths (face-to-face), again – yes? Love all ’round. Journey safe.



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