Happy Earth Day

West Wittering

It’s been a glorious Easter bank holiday weekend here on the West Sussex coast. One of my favourite things to do is walk along the seashore at low tide.

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I’d bring you this beautiful poem, Breakage, from Mary Oliver. Her account of a morning walk by the sea is a beautiful metaphor for the pleasure of reading, another of my favourite pastimes.

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.