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My arms are lined with red, all on account of blackberries and Very Small Boys discovering plumes of shiny black berries far back into the jagged plants. I reached through brier portals, up on tiptoes, precarious toward far blackberries. The bucket didn't have many blueberries. But purple stained the Very Small faces, hands, shirts.

With the fading red and orange of the cicada sun - the fishing sun. The burning sun. The blackberry sun - we were on the soft beach, still stained. Still lined in red. Absorbing somewhere the union of the sun and water that brings the cars in singlefile parades. The pilgrimage to the Big Lake. When it's angry and storming. When the waves crash high over the light house. When the red and orange blueberry sun sets. Or when the mind is restless. Grieving. Quiet.

But somehow there was no other pilgrimage in our chosen beach spot, along the sands which in the absence of people has shifted back to its banded, wind layered patterns. And the sun had slipped down into the banded and rhythmic waters. And the stars and moon shone from the South, reflecting on a shiny black surface in wave distorted replica.

A new sand castle began construction. In the moon darkness the sound of children: games and laughter feeding on itself, tunes hummed unselfconsciously from minds absorbed. I wandered into the dark waters and smelled the stirring sands, tripped on a sand bar surprisingly close to shore. My red lined arms plunged into the waters to catch my fall.

Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Positive Intention and Lovingkindness and DKOMA.

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