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The Ocean in Winter ... A Short Story Poem

Updated on July 14, 2015


The cold was relentless, as was I in

my battle of wills with mother winter

and her volatile moods.

She had been here many times

before, and I was new and brief

by all accounts of those who

had left. One by one, we would

slip away as her wind hurled its

bitter stings and the sun hid behind

the granite sky. But not today.


Pulling my parka closer, I sat down

on the smooth rocks of the seawall

that overlooked the ocean cove.

Wonderful, pungent scents of salt

and seaweed permeated the air.

The constant wind pushed

the waves forward with the incoming

tide…its rhythmic flow softly lulling,

drawing me inward.


For a moment I wondered why the wind and the waves could not speak

in this world. Is only our voice so meaningful in the measure of time?

They will be here long after we are gone, and have witnessed that which

we will never know or understand. Perhaps their solitude is our penance.

Are we mortal humans the ones that have been left behind?


Closing my eyes, I imagined I could hear the whales as they sighed, purred

and murmured their cries in an endless glide through the ocean depths.

Such sounds are filled with secrets. These songs are beautifully told

and oddly comforting. Yet at times they left me with the longing feeling

of an orphaned child.


A lone seagull shrieked overhead; I looked up to see him watching me

as he bobbed about in the wind like a drunken kite. “I have no food,” I whispered,

hearing the regret in my voice. Suddenly, the gull descended with a glider’s

quiet care and landed on the stone barrier. Ambling slightly from

side to side, he walked toward me before coming to rest not far

from my solitary perch.


The gull and I watched the ocean with concern for her resilience...

each in our own way. In these waters, both shallow and deep,

dwelled a myriad of companions, vagabonds and travelers that

had dwindled in recent winters. Such beings lived their lives,

tender and fierce, amidst a vast beauty imperiled by man's indifference.


I glanced over at my feathered friend and smiled. I was filled with quiet

admiration for all of life that surrounds and abounds, flowing within

and shared with an irresistible clarity. And I realized that this was not merely

a collection of beloved moments in an afternoon with the ocean in winter.

This…was prayer.



..


Copyright 2012 by Genna East. All rights reserved. Said copyrights do include the above video; the music, "Time" was composed by Hans Zimmer; the video was created by arianaconda of YouTube.

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    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Genna, Wow! This is amazingly beautiful read.

      Voted up awesome and beautiful, Joyce.

    • arb profile image

      arb 4 years ago from oregon

      A communion with silence. Amazing what we can see from there. What a wonderful and delightful work Geena! I was not prepared for the last line. But,when I read it, I nodded and simply whispered, yes.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I enjoyed this beautiful reflection on the whale. What a creative voice for the silence of communication with these animals. Great job and so interesting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Genna, This is so beautiful, the quiet serenity of Mother nature and the ocean depth, time spent with the seagull, wishing you had food to share. Words not needed, only deep thoughts..I loved this..Thank you..

    • profile image

      Maya 4 years ago

      What a great way to start the day my friend. You are a phenomenal writer. This is so beautiful.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @writer20

      Thank you Joyce; your wonderful comment made my day. :-)

      @Arb

      Hi there...it always good to see you. I know what you mean about that last line.

      I have always believed that prayer encompasses far more than church, or asking for something one needs or wants. To admire, enjoy and respect all that we have been given in the abundant life that surrounds us is a form of prayer. And I think He knows.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments and kind words.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Teaches 12345

      Thank you! It was an interesting experience and one that I wanted to write about. Thanks so much for the comments and for the visit.

      @AlwaysExploring

      Hi Ruby! Your appreciation means a lot to me, my friend. Thank you. :-)

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Maya

      And hello there, my friend...my goodness, you are up early today. :-) As always, your support and nice words hold a special place. Thank you!

    • profile image

      DnWW 4 years ago

      Dear Lady;

      Wow. This is one of the best I have read -- really beautiful. The environment is an integral part of us and we have disconnected ourselves from it in too many ways. Without the oceans we couldn’t continue to exist.

      The awareness -- and feeling that deep connection -- ‘This…was prayer.’ That’s it exactly. How often do we thank Him -- and more -- for these gifts? Mankind seems to want to keep destroying it.

      Keep writing Gen. Molly sends hugs back.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Genna, this was a very beautiful written hub has you are joined as one with Mother nature and all the critters around . I love to walk on the beach every morning it is so peaceful and refreshing . Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub i enjoyed reading it !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

      Your choice of words captivating the moment by the seawall makes me envious of your interlude with nature. I can visualize the images of your fellow travelers; magnificent creatures of the sea and air as they share briefly the beauty and bounty of your surroundings. This is truly a prayer...poetically expressed.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 4 years ago

      Lovely... I was drawn in by your words.. as though I was there with you by the ocean.. So calming and wonderful! Have a lovely day.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @DnWW

      Hi there...very perceptive words about the environment as it rlates to this poem; thank you! As always, my best to both you and Molly. :-)

      @Kashmir

      Thank you. Aren't walks on the beach wonderful...I do some of my best thinking there. I'm grateful for the nice words and vote...especially from someone who appreciates the ocean as much as I. :-)

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @SilentReed

      What a nice thing to say, thank you. :-) I usually write about such experiences in the third person, but it just didn't seem to work this time. Good to see you.

      @Sofs

      That's one of the nicest things any writer can hear...being drawn in by the words and feeling as though you were there. Thank you for those kind words. Enjoy the day.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      What a Beautiful "ode" to the ocean in winter, Genna...you penned such wonderful words, I could see this scene so clearly in my mind...Voted UP and Beautiful my friend.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Gena wow.. I love this.. what a simply beautiful poem and I feel like you were praying too

      God Bless you

      voted up

      Debbie

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Geena, i liked your prose poem very much. How often have some of us reflected on the thoughts and sentiments you've written on here. Maybe the gull connected to something deep within us, just waiting to be accessed and used to great benefit and communion. A wise woman once said: if you want to know what it's all about with you, just take some time and look at nature all around- it is there you will find the answer.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You have a quiet soul, a far reaching vision, a tranquil pen.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      beautiful, Geena. I was right there on that cold beach with you!

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi everyone; I’m sorry it’s taken me awhile to thank you all for your comments; work is still keeping me too busy.

      @b. Malin

      Thank you, my friend, for those nice words and vote. :-)

      @Deborah Brooks

      And you as well. :-) Good to see you, and thank you.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Alastar Packer

      Hello Alastar. These were just ruminations I think they call them. I wasn’t going to write about these meditations, but decided at the last minute to jot them down. Thank you for your very thoughtful words. I very much like what that wise woman once said.

      @Mkbirdbks

      Thank you, Mike. That is very gracious thing to say. I will be joining you at the Emerald Wells Café soon.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @PDXKaroakeGuy

      Yes, it was cooooold. But I was determined not to let “mother winter” chase me away. Thank yu for the supportive comment.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This gave me goosebumps, Genna, not because you were sitting in the cold, near the water, but your solitary introspection in the presence of the power and mysteries of the ocean. I've felt it, too, the few times I have been near it. I am drawn, in awe and fear of such profound power. I am struck by how insignificant I am when I am mesmerized by the sound, the depth and endless magnitude of the ocean. It is always there that I am certain of God.

      This is truly one of the most profoundly moving pieces I have ever read...anywhere.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Beautiful and profound and indeed a prayer, Genna. When we observe nature, we sense the power much more powerful than our own, and then our thoughts become prayers on a level much higher than ordinary talking...

      Voted up and thought-provoking :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Beautifully written, Genna I loved the way you've captured the power and majesty as well as the endless mystery of the ocean. This solitary reverie had me hooked, had me thinking and had me smiling. voted up!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This was prayer.. wow so beautiful my friend.. nicely done.. You are a true poet.

      sharing

      Debbie

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      ....about the best poetry I've read in some time my dear friend and esteemed colleague - I felt with your imagery I was actually there in that time and place with you - it had such a cinematic feel to it - and Epi is awestruck here - you have an amazing gift for not only putting words together but making them come alive and move your readers like lucky me - so wonderful to see you just now at my Hub - it's always a pleasure and you are such a classy classy lady and a world class writer too - lake erie time canada and sending you warm wishes and good energy at 10:54pm

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Epi, Doc, Martie, Amy and Deb:

      I’m so sorry I was unable to respond before this, but I’ve been away due to work and could only recently return.

      Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comments. They mean more than you will know, and do wonders for this heart. It is such a treasure to hear from lovely people and talented authors I have come to love and respect. Again, thank you!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      What a beautiful observation pm the ocean im winter and the whale in particular. As others have said, the imagery is wonderful. The ocean is a renewing place in any season.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      This piece was mesmerizing in many ways, Geena... right down to the final word. I think this might be your best work to date. Up & Awesome! WB

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Xstatic;

      Thank you. I believe the good Lord gave us many gifts in nature, and the recognition and appreciation of them is, in a way, our prayer of gratitude.

      Hello Wayne;

      Thank you! I’m pleased you liked it. It’s a prose poem with layers about the ocean and nature I love and probably write about it too often. You can’t see it, but my profile photo was taken at a rocky shoreline with the ocean just beyond. Good to see you!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Very interesting hub, you wrote with such beauty, i read the whole article in one breathe, wonderful, voted up.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      What a beautiful reflection filled with lovely thoughts. Voted up and all :)

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Giri and Unknown, for those nice words and votes. :-)

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      There is nothing , nothing better than sitting at the sea , hot , cold ,sunny or rain , I love it .

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      So do I! Thanks for stopping by, and for those perceptive words. :-)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      this was a well written prose poem Genna East.. thank you for sharing it :)

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Frank! :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, I am reminded of a song by Dan Fogelberg.....The Reach....beautiful song that mirrors this poem of yours. Well done, and thank you for bringing a little beauty into the world through this poem.

      bill

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I just listened to the Dan Folgerberg song on YouTube, and it brought tears to my eyes. I just loved it! The ocean does beckon; “I will take from the reach all that she has to teach and to the depths of my soul...” So true! Thank you so much for telling me about this song Billy. Such a gift. And thank you for your wonderful comments. :-)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      I searched today for tranquility and beauty, knowing that I would find that near the ocean, that reliable and never forgotten part of who I am... And I found far more than planned within an easy, ebb and flow of a few expertly crafted words that took me home... thank you for that journey on a day when such expression was needed to inspire this soul... beautiful spot and company, not unlike my own often shared with an Oyster Catcher with one leg and a trusting nature! Bravo!

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      "...that reliable and never forgotten part of who I am..."

      So beautifully stated, Pearl, thank you! :-)

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      How did I miss this one. Often we mortals find ourselves alone in deep thoughts. I've often visted places to be alone, to wander a shoreline, skip a few rocks and sit to contemplate. I listen to everything that surrounds me and take it all in, deep breathing and peaceful thinking within. It's the only way I find to calm my wayward soul, is total stillness all alone.

      The ocean shore is my favorite place to listen and to watch all the sounds and movements from the sea and fellow souls. Some are in flight and others like me a lost child with many thoughts, who together make a very interesting lot. The salty air and white caps rushing in make my spirit soar with thankfullness and prayer letting loose from deep within.

      I'm calmed for a spell taking it all in and praying for forgiveness from my many past sins. Yet who am I just a wanderer like the gull who flutters here and there searching out for a feeding hand who is willing to help out. So we will live with out thoughts and offer them up in prayer no matter where we wander near or from far away.

      My only hope is that someone is listening to me as I weep or cry out loud and on bended knee ask for forgiveness and guidance daily and to love forevermore. Genna this piece stirred within me and you moved my heart and I thank you sweet poet. I send my blessings to you and yours this day.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Loved this poem, beautifully expressed with wonderful thoughts and emotions. Voted up.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      This was just most excellent, Genna. We humans are drawn to the waters...the oceans especially. Many times I have stood before the noisy, crashing waves and wondered where they had been, what they had seen in their relentless lapping at the shores. We are such specks in time yet the oceans were here long before us and seemingly will be here for eternity...if there is such a thing on earth. Maybe the tranquility which touches us from the rage of a crashing ocean was something God meant us to dwell upon...a look past the chaos of life and love into the tranquility of our own souls. You verse brings that message home to me. Thanks so much for sharing it. Up, Up, and More Up! ~WB

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 4 years ago from On the edge

      This is magnificent! I'm certain that God is delighted when we pause to notice that all He made is connected and that all parts need to work together. He gives us dominion but comforts, amuses and amazes us with nature. My most tranquil times are spent on the riverbanks and would be on ocean shores if I lived close enough. I am never more at peace than I am on a warm sunny day on a riverbank and while your poem is about cold and an ocean, I could easily relate the the wonder and beauty of your surroundings. Your writing just gets better and better!

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Genna, I am in awe. You have captured everything about the sea in winter and brought it back to the shore in warm-blooded companionship. I know those moments of thought that become prayer and you took me there again vividly. Whether the voices are thunderous or merely whispers, the life around us is a wondrous thing. Greetings from your neighbour to the north on Cape Breton Island.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Sorry I’m late in responding, but I’m expecting my first grandchild to arrive in a matter of a few days, and we are all soo excited and over the moon about this, I just can’t think straight! :-) :-)

      @Vincent Moore

      “The ocean shore is my favorite place to listen and to watch all the sounds and movements from the sea and fellow souls. Some are in flight and others like me a lost child with many thoughts, who together make a very interesting lot. The salty air and white caps rushing in make my spirit soar with thankfulness and prayer letting loose from deep within.”

      I could not have expressed this better, Ken. You have described my feelings, exactly. The prayers of such a true and gentle soul as yours will always be heard. Forgiveness is there…in the wind, in the movement of the sea and in the life of those fellow souls. I think it is God’s way of communicating with us, when we listen. Thank you, dear poet, for those beautiful words. :-)

      @Vellur

      Thank you for your visit, and kind comments.

      @Wayne Brown

      “We are such specks in time yet the oceans were here long before us and seemingly will be here for eternity...if there is such a thing on earth.”

      How very true, Wayne. I often go to the ocean…it is my “church” so to speak. Even in the dead of winter, I often observe people sitting in parked cars facing the ocean, staring off into the distance. We all head for the water – just like lost homing pigeons -- connecting with an inner peace we somehow remember, often in mystic ways from long ago.

      Thank you for your wonderful comments. :-)

      @Poohgranma

      Hello Pooh! :-)

      “God is delighted when we pause to notice that all He made is connected and that all parts need to work together.”

      Absolutely. It is all connected…part of us. This is the miracle of life. When we understand and appreciate this, I truly think that God knows, and is grateful that we notice something beyond ourselves. Thank you for your dear comments. Hugs.

      @Silvergenes

      Happy greetings to you and Cape Breton Island.

      “Whether the voices are thunderous or merely whispers, the life around us is a wondrous thing.” Spoken like a true poet, Alexandra. Thank you, and hugs. :-)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Such a beautiful meditation--and you are right--prayer is all around us--

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Genna, this poem is absolutely beautiful and inspiring. When we sit in silence and listen to Nature and our souls, this is when we connect to all Creation. I felt the strong spiritual connection you and the seagull had with the sea. So beautiful.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @AudreyHowitt

      Thank you Audrey. We are a part of nature, but often too many people do not realize it.

      @Phyllis

      I just read your wonderful article on rainforests and deforestation. Beautiful work, Phyllis. Thank you for the comment, and support.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 11 months ago from Texas

      Genna, why have I not read this before. It is so beautiful, but I could never stand the cold and cruel wind.

      Blessings to you my friend.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 11 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      You always have my attentive inner ear, and this piece demonstrates why.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 11 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Shyron and Perspycacious: Thank you for visiting this story-poem, and for those thoughtful comments. I love the ocean, as you can probably tell, and view these waters as a beautiful gift from God that we have yet to fully appreciate or understand.

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