Friday, January 18, 2013

Homeward Bound                                                                                                         

If we leave right now the tide table says we have an hour and a half until the morning high.
We are filled with apprehension for we know not what awaits us.
Always prepared, we pack our boots, our chest waders, the camera
And so we set out, full of hope, and homeward bound.

It has only been 24 hours, the traffic lights are still out, the stores are still closed.
There is not much to see as we enter the neighborhood.
Piles of broken Phragmites, pushed half way up the matted lawns by natures fury.
So we drive on, still hopeful, homeward bound.

Heading ever southward on the neighborhoods main road,
The scene grows steadily worse with downed wires and the roots of fifty-year-old trees
 forming the ropes and poles of natures new grass carpet tents.
We drive on slowly, picking our way through the wreckage, homeward bound.

We must stop. The road is still closed by flooding with a half mile yet to go.
“You better have waders.” Came a shout from the house beneath a downed tree.
“The water is up to here.” He pointed to his belt. “Come. Sit on my stoop to change.”
And so we did, as hope faded and stark reality settled in. Then we went on, homeward bound.

It is a heart-straining trudge in ice-cold water. A waist-deep-half-mile of North Atlantic Hell. 
My legs grow numb, my heart pounds in my chest with every step I take, and the tide is still rising.
My mind replays the news reports of so many men having heart attacks. 
Pace yourself.  Don’t die now.  She needs you.  We are homeward bound.

At 50 yards we can see the high-water mark, half way up the bay window.
I shout commandingly; “We’ll only have 20 minutes to look around, or the tide will cut us off.” 
There will be no time for precious memories, there will be no time for tears. 
But at least we are together, and homeward bound.

I unlock the door and I must put my shoulder to it to push it open.
Yesterdays prized possessions, are today’s debris that floated to the doorway, and blocks our way in.
I find a figurine that belongs in the den, in the mud of the living room, and I instinctively clean it.
The first small step, of a very long journey, homeward bound.


  1. Excellent post, Don. I'm sure it will strike a chord with thousands of Long Islanders who shared similar experiences.

  2. Wow, Don! Just wow! This is so powerful and poignant! It is amazing that you were able to capture those moments so vividly, and convey your feelings without sentimentality, so soon after your experiences. This poem is extraordinary!