Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Flood Gifts"

This is today's freebie, inspired by [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "Memories" square in my 4-4-21 "Aspects" card for the Genderplay Bingo fest. It belongs to the series Arts and Crafts America.


"Flood Gifts"

[March 2019]

The last storm of the season
had come and gone, and
now the only thing left of
Shelly Ellison's beach house
was the stilts it had stood on.

She was familiar with
losing everything, though.

Shelly herself had been
what her mother called
a flood gift, unexpected
and terrible and wonderful
all mixed up together.

She had lost her mother
the summer before college,
but she remembered what
her mother had taught her:

No matter how bad the storm,
it always washes some good ashore.

So Shelly had taken up beachcombing
and always checked along the shores
after a big storm, when the sand
would release its best treasures.

Today she found seashells
and driftwood good for
making picture frames.

There was a beach necklace
with real silver charms of
starfish and seahorses
tarnished black, its cord
almost rotted through, but
the charms could be salvaged.

Shelly found sea glass, too,
most of it the usual green, but
then a glint of rarest orange.

She snatched it up, for
even the smallest piece
of orange could sell for
hundreds of dollars.

Then to her amazement,
she found another, and another!

Scattered along the beach
were wave-washed fragments
of vivid tangerine glass, ranging
from thumbnail to pinky-nail in size.

There must have been a batch of
orange glass gone overboard or
thrown away long ago, now
washed up by the storm.

Shelly walked slowly along,
picking up every scrap of
the tangerine glass.

Selling these crafts
would help her replace
what she had lost.

They would hold bits
of her memories and
become memories for
the tourists buying them.

Shelly imagined earrings
flashing with fire-colors
and collage seascapes
with tiny glass suns.

No matter what life
threw at you, it would
turn out all right as long
as you remembered
to look for the flood gifts.

* * *

Notes:

Shelly Ellison -- She has bronze skin, brown eyes, and curly shoulder-length hair of brown that bleaches to blonde streaks in the sun. She is sturdy and athletic. Shelly was an unexpected baby and made life difficult for her mother, but was loved anyway. Her mother died shortly before Shelly entered college. Later, Shelly developed a business making and selling crafts from materials found while beachcombing or bargain-hunting in town. In March 2019, a violent storm washed away her beach house, but also washed up rare and valuable seawrack that helped her replace what she lost.

* * *

Read about flood gifts. My fantasy world of Hallelaine has a saying, "Light the cherry fire." It comes from the idea of a storm blowing down an orchard, which is sad, but cherry wood makes a lovely fragrant fire.

Fall and winter is the best time to catch a glimpse of the raging waves of the Pacific. The season begins in November and goes through March so pack your bags and plan for a visit to Cannon Beach during our off-season!

An unexpected baby may cause mayhem, but many women fall in love with the child anyway. There are ways to cope with these issues.

Losing a parent as a teen is shattering. It can help to get support from other bereaved students. Understand how to deal with the grief.

Home loss is another kind of grief. Know how to handle home loss and other disasters.

Explore seaglass colors, of which the rarest is orange. The best time to search is after a storm. While seaglass is usually found one piece at a time, occasionally pieces lost together will wash up together. If you find one splendid piece, look around to see if there are more.

Beach crafts come in many styles. See Shelly's driftwood picture frame made from her finds. She also makes a charm necklace entirely from scavenged parts except for the findings. It includes a seahorse charm and a starfish charm, a pearl, a tiny bit of pale blue seaglass, and a branch of red coral found in an antique shop.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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