Sunday Dinner: Absence

Oregon Trip 2016 188


“There is a time in life

when you expect the world to be always full of new things.

And then comes a day

when you realize that is not how it will be at all.

You see that life will become

a thing made of holes.  Absences.  Losses.

Things that were there and are no longer.

And you realize, too, that you have to grow

around and between the gaps”


Helen Macdonald


Oregon Trip 2016 185


“How can you know what is missing

if you’ve never met it?

You must know of something’s existence

before you can notice its absence. ”


E.L. Konigsburg


Oregon Trip 2016 202


“No matter how great the love,

the pain, the sadness, the power of a heart,

no one can recreate the sea.

Nowhere else.”




Oregon Trip 2016 194


“Your body is away from me,
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.”




Oregon Trip 2016 217


It was the absence of life clinging to the rocks which I found so stunning.  Gone were the countless blue mussels, barnacles, Anemones and starfish which once colonized these rocky tidal pools.  How could every trace of them be wiped away so swiftly?


Oregon Trip 2016 197


I first walked this beach six years ago, dazzled by its beauty, diversity and abundance.  Our East Coast beaches were already dead decades ago, which made this Oregon Coast beach all the more magical.  Gulls congregated on the rocks at low tide, their calls a constant melody above the crashing waves.  Every rocky surface was owned by life:  Algaes and sea weeds rippled on the returning tides; small fish zipped around in the tidal pools.  So many strange and beautiful creatures crawled and swam glistened in the salty wash of the sea. 


September, 2010

September, 2010


But that has all changed now.   The rocks lie hard and clean, barren of all life save a few strands of algae clinging here and there.  The gulls have mostly moved on, leaving a few smaller shore birds to what little may be found to eat. 


Oregon Trip 2016 198


An occasional cluster of mussel shells and barnacles glitter like jewels in the sand, beautiful in their rarity.  And an ancient silence has descended on the beach; the primordial rhythms of wind and wave broken by no living voices of gull or sea lion or whale.

Who can explain the mystery of this sudden absence? 

And who can excuse it?


Oregon Trip 2016 187~

Woodland Gnome 2016

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Abstract


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “Sunday Dinner: Absence

  1. Terribly sad. The first poem perhaps the most heart-wrenching.

  2. Pingback: WPC Abstract Picture – Sharingiscaringweb

  3. Pingback: Abstract (Late Snow 2) | What's (in) the picture?

  4. Wow, scary… at first I thought this post was about missing your family, then I saw it was much more than that. What do the local wildlife rangers say about it?

  5. A thought provoking yet beautiful post.

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