It is time now
it has been years
but tonight she is coming
and it makes me smile

Midnight moonlight
ripples across the water
surf rolls gently up the shore
timeless ebb and flow

“There she is,” I see her
she glides from the night-dark water
a graceful, shadowed form moving
out of the sea and onto the sand
morphing into a struggling, determined hulk
no longer graceful
she pulls herself across the surf washed sand
to where it is dry and safe above the tide line

So begins her ancient ritual
broad flippers scoop out the sand
and flash it aside in the dark night
scooping, flashing
digging, digging
until finally it is done
the hole deep enough
the sand just right

I watch as I have always watched
bright and shining, full of joy
this primordial cycle
as first one, then another, and another
drops into its cradle of sand
nearly a hundred when completed
and life begins again

“Breathe mother, take a breath,” I whisper
“A deep breath”
“And rest for a moment”
but she is not done and she cannot rest
not yet
the eggs must be covered they must be protected
so for another hour she pushes and flails
flinging the loose sand back into place
the sand an hour just removed
packing it in place once again

“Now you can go”
I murmur protectively
“Go on,”
“Go back to the sea”
“Rest for a long time”
She lumbers slowly back across the beach and
into the surf disappearing as gracefully as she

I am in awe
I am always in awe
and so, I see, are the children
and the father and mother
and the grandfather
who have come with the Park Ranger
to watch this sacred moment
this mandala of life
this great circle moving

I see the grandfather
watching his son
his son watching his daughters
his daughters watching this turning wheel
and I smile again
circles within circles within circles

Marv Himmel
August 24, 2016 ©

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