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Begin at 30th Avenue,
once path for deer,
brown bear and wild cougar
among great live oaks
and tall pines. Walk past
pale painted condominiums
and small bungalows on the black-wet
road slick with winter rain.
Come to Portola Drive, ease across
four traffic lanes
to the ocean side of things.
Continue on, past Corner Pocket Billiards,
the Fluff-n-Fold Laundromat and the 7-11.
Pass a woman crossing to her house,
keys and milk carton in hand, sweater
falling off her shoulder. She asks,
Aren´t you hot in all that gear?
Her smooth arms jiggle
as she smiles, walking past.

Keep on. Walk down 30th
to a hidden place that leads
(if you know where to look)
to a trail through a eucalyptus grove
along a running creek. Walk
through the gate, follow the muddy
path until it widens
among tall pale trees
leaning in the rainy breeze. The trail
is forest leaves and duff,
your feet tramp contentedly
by the muddy creek. Then it opens:
a wide door, an invitation,
a place of witness-- you have been led
to a great, open gushing place.

Creek waters rush forward,
harsh rains pouring deep into hunger.
A great white egret flies
in out of the mists,
and another is suddenly there
in great wings of flutter and light.
Follow them to where the creek flows deep
into a five-fingered stream.
Stand very still in the rain,
eyes on the true world.

Then, perhaps because you are lucky,
or because you were born
under a difficult sign
but with a good heart,
the path winds round to Moran Lake, which flows
under the bridge of East Cliff Drive,
and into the crashing white-blue ocean,
which is before you now.

Walk onto the sandy beach.
Tie your hood as winds come up
and raindrops fly sideways
to your eyes. Walk to the surf
among sudden sprays of water and air.
Stay awhile, your coat
and pants collecting rain.

When it is time, turn around,
cross the road, pass the lake,
begin your walk home. See
egrets huddled like small mounds
in the rain. Smell deep the gently dripping
eucalyptus. Come out again
on 30th Avenue, pass Corner Pocket
Billiards, and cross again
the wide black street.

Back at your house, make tea
at your table. Pour the hot cup,
sit and be still. Become the one
who saw these things,
the wild continuing
inside your own home
where you live among ancient
absent pines, and winged creatures
fly toward you out of the mists.

Carolyn Flynn is the editor of The New Story: Creation Myths for Our Times (Wild Girl Publishing, 2003), and has just completed the memoir My Dead Around Me: A Journey of Irish-American Memory and Ancestry. Her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Porter Gulch Review, Earth´s Daughters, Black Buzzard River, Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure, Inside Grief: Death, Loss and Bereavement, and New to North America: Writing by U.S. Immigrants, Their Children and Grandchildren. She teaches writing workshops and retreats in Santa Cruz, California and in Ireland.

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