The California coastline is a long stretch of cliffs jutting down to the sea, but depending on exactly where you are in the state, the landscape can be quite different. Southern California is calmer, I think. Lighter blues, softer sand, golden rocks. Palm trees and eucalyptus trees bend over the edge, close enough to feel the mist of the sea. Once you climb north, the sea turns a deeper blue. The water is rockier, the waves rougher, the landscape more rugged and unforgiving. It's beautiful, wherever you are, but Jane Hirshfield, who wrote the poem I'm sharing today, is writing from the north.
Jane Hirshfield is one of my favorite contemporary poets. She is a master of illuminating the quiet places and finding meanings in the simple gestures of our daily life. Her poems are often greatly profound and spiritual, reminding us of connections beyond our physical bodies. I find myself returning to her poems often, never tiring of their beauty and insight.