I Am St Paul Island

It’s inescapable, at least to me, the comparisons between human and water. We’re seventy percent of the stuff by mass, and that’s the same percentage of the Earth’s surface that is covered by water. I see in us, the same properties of water, and even as I doubt some major tidal shift in human philosophy based on my observations, I hope at least to bring a sea change in a few thoughts.


This isn’t new, what I’m saying, I’ve said it before, but this time I wish to look at a few things happening out there in the ocean, that vast and open space of fluid, and wonder how much of us is reflected there. As always, anytime I read about some scientific experiment, observation, or trial, I wonder how it came to be, and where it will go. Someone measured the pressure waves of the 2004 tsunami and discovered there was measurable affects at almost all points of the globe. Now, we know the waves felt in Alaska were not nearly as severe as those felt on nearby islands, but there were there, nevertheless.  I wonder what this says about us humans. Did we all feel the massive wave of death that swept through that area? Did we, at some level, realize that a quarter of a million people had died, or if in fact there was some connection, was the distance too great for us to really know it was there? With humans is it distance? Is it volume? Or am I just plain wrong, and this an entirely false analogy?


But let’s go back to Alaska, shall we?


Saint Paul Island, Alaska, is a tiny speck of land far north of the Aleutian Islands, far out into the Bering Sea.  People do live here, five hundred or so,  and one of the things they do is clean the debris of fishing boats from the beaches of their island. Nets, garbage, flotsam and jetsam , all manner of  other human detritus is brought here by the currents.  Here is where the ocean has decided to return man’s folly to land, and it is left to the people of the island to deal with it.


This leads me to wonder if writers aren’t the Saint Paul Islands of humanity. We writer seem to be the receptacles of all things cast away from other people. Here, we tell them, is what was lost from this far away place. Here, we show them, is what happened at this point in time, long ago, so long ago all but forgotten but by writers. Here, this is what has washed up upon my shores, and though I know not of what it might be, here, I will show this to you, and you might know it. Here, here is what I have found in my mind, battered by waves, isolated and floating around for years, and finally, yes, finally, here it is, and you may pick it up, hold it to the sun, and wonder where has been.


The Sea Of Humanity has cast adrift many thoughts and many people. Here, on this island, I offer you what I have found upon the shores of an island, far, far away from any populated shore.  If you close your eyes, and if you sit in silence, I think you can hear the ocean.



Take Care,


Dar Williams- The Ocean

When I went to your town on the wide open shore,
Oh I must confess, I was drawn, I was drawn to the ocean,
I thought it spoke to me, it said, "Look at us,
We're not churches, not schools, not skating ponds, swimming pools,
And we have lost people, haven't we though?"
Oh, that's what the ocean can know of a body,
And that's when I came back to town, this town is a song about you.
You don't know how lucky you are, you don't know how much I adore you,
You are the welcoming back from the ocean.

I went back to the ocean today,
With my books and my papers I went to the rocks by the ocean,
But the weather changed quickly, oh the ocean said,
"What are you trying to find, i dont' care, I'm not kind,
I've bludgeoned your sailors, I've spat out their keepsakes,
Oh it's ashes to ashes, but always the ocean,"
But the ocean can't come to this town, this town is a song about you.
You don't know how lucky you are, you don't know how much I adore you,
You are the welcoming back from the ocean.

And the ones that can know you so well are the ones that can swallow you whole.
I have a good and I have an evil, I thought the ocean, the ocean thought nothing,
You are the welcoming back from the ocean.

I didn't go back today,
I wanted to show you that I was more land than water,
I went to pick flowers. I brought them to you,
Look at me, look at them, with their salt up the stem,
But you frowned when I smiled and I tried to arrange them,
You said, "Let me tell you the song of this town,"
You said, "Everything closes at five. After that, well, you just got the bars,
You don't know how precious you are, walking around with your little shoes dangling,
I am the one who lives with the ocean,

It's where we came from, you know, and sometimes I just want to go back,
After a day, we drink 'til we're drowning, walk to the ocean, wade in with our workboots,
Wade in our workboots, try to finish the job.
You don't know how precious you are, I am the one who lives with the ocean.
You don't know how I am the one. You don't know how I am the one."

Wundrmom44   Wundrmom44 wrote
on 6/28/2008 1:46:40 AM
I don't know why I hadn't read this before. I don't know why no one else has left a message about this writing. I don't have time to sit and ruminate, it is late and I need to go to bed, but, I wanted to tell you... I love the ocean, I have written about it... I think... my kids and me, Thing 1 and Thing 2... affectionately, have spent many a fine day at the pacific shore. Time stops there you know. I can still see us sitting, in that simpler time, less worries, the future not bearing down on us so hard... but now... well it caught up, and I am lost. I really loved the poem, I will look up Dar Williams when I have more ... was gonna say time... but, I think peace is better. Have a wonderful weekend, Kristina

Mike Firesmith
writing Mike Firesmith
I write
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I though the ocean the ocean thought nothing.
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