Julie Dunaway

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Sand

How strange it is, that this form
so familiar has taken on a few
bending lines, lines that move
with me, faint echoing ripples
now staying with me.
Landmarks of life appear as though
etched in broken rock and stone.
Areas exposed to sun, wind, rain
and all seasons no longer hide their days
of adventure, or long nights of
Prayer. I see old scars
for ancient reasons,
new scars for old reasons,
changing this terrain,
some place created by God
but owned by Time.
Or is it created through time, but
patiently awaited by God?
The constant waves of sand,
fine traces of dunes on the surface,
reveal how land always
changes, becoming something it
has never been before. This, then,
is the weathered soul Christ
has chosen, this is the mortal form
He accepts.

His breath stirs across the world,
a great breath awakening from
north and south, creating anew,
north wind and south wind traveling
across this landscape, slowly
scattering the grains of sand.


Stinson Beach

Spent some time at the beach today
Stinson Beach off Highway 1, north of San Francisco

It was cold, and raining
sat in the car for a bit
rewrote Rain and Fog (how appropriate).
After a while the rain stopped
and I went for a walk along the shore.

That roar of the ocean! – I wasn’t used to it, love
or how high the waves reached.
But the shoreline was nearly empty of people
waves crashing upon wide open beach
stretching out to the cliff hills, misted on all sides.

Seagulls and other birds skittered by close to me
poking for food in the wet, foaming sand.
In the breeze, the dune grasses moved like something in a dream.

Only a few other trails of footprints
in the rain-sodden sand had gone before mine
and even they had almost disappeared beneath the wind.
When the storm gusts picked up
sand grains traveled ahead of me,
traveling over the packed terrain
in extraordinary patterns and wild abandon
as if even more alive and free than me.

I found a place to rest in,
a tiny shelter waiting.
About the smallest a driftwood shelter could be,
not much bigger than me.
Its back leaned against the small rising dunes
the large gaps between most of the boards
permitting so much whistling wind and dune grass,
sounds of crashing surf, that Hemingway would have loved it.

— but only my love for it mattered today.
Rest was to be had for so many uncounted moments
Breathing, looking out over the ocean.
The tiny shelter opened up to the whole of the ocean
to our world, to the horizon’s possibilities.
And unlike Hemingway, I longed for scripture
for the beloved Book of James
wishing I had brought it.

The rain began to return when I did
the wind streaming in my face on the way back,
my sunglasses catching droplets from the sky.

My jeans were slightly damp by the time
I reached my car,
but they warmed and dried quickly as I drove home,
grateful for the hour God had given me
the unbound time to walk along His shoreline.


One of Julie Dunaway‘s essays placed in UC Berkeley’s Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize contest, and another won the Northwest Indian College “101” Short Story Contest. Her poems have been published in The Coffee Shop Chronicles and Poetry Walk: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, The First Five Years (Paperback).


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