Shadows of Time.

On my beach the shadows walk.
They mingle among summer crowds,
fill an empty stretch of winter sand,
and hide in the March winds,
watching, wondering, waiting,
Unwilling to leave.
Taking their time.

A child in a skirted swimsuit,
the child who was once me,
digs a long shallow trench to catch the tide,
helped by other small hands.
Eager, splashing feet dash together,
united in a rush of hope,
towards the distant sea.

My mother sits quietly,
huddled behind a windbreak,
writing postcards in capital letters.
A kite is tied to the back of her deckchair,
telling the world that we are here.
Forty five miles from home.
A world away.

I see my father in the distance,
strong and tall in his long waders,
digging for lugworms
along the waterline.
Slowly the incoming tide
fills up the holes behind him
as he bends and stretches.

The best of times
and the worst of times
have been faced down here.
Love, despair, hope, longing,
have all come and gone.
Nothing lasts,
but everything is to be found.

The faces in the crowd slip away
into the shadows of their own past.
Their joys are the same.
Their fears remain.
This is where you come
to hold onto your real self.
It will be here, waiting.

And always there is a dog, running.

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