For many of us, the sea works a deep grace into our often weary souls; it washes mercy over our harried lives and moves us into a new rhythm.  Here's a poem that came to me after a few days along the Big Sur (California) coastline.

The Heron Who’s Practicing Zen


The sea draws me—


The ceaseless movement of the waves,

rolling without end,

relaxing my taut mind 

toward nature’s rhythm and rhyme,

and away from the doggerel

of digital devices,


clocks and calendars,

fluorescent bulbs,


to-do lists,

and freeway gridlock.


Even the smaller birds—

who seem,

at dawn,

always in a hurry,

as if breakfast 

is quickly coming to an end—

their hurry is not the same

as the worry I carry 

in my uptight frame.


And there’s the Heron,

who’s practicing Zen,

balanced atop her cushion of Kelp,

a slender Buddha,

who knows nothing but what is






What is time out here 

among these ancient rocks

and rolling sea,

the Heron lost within eternity?


I seem the only one aware 

of the tick tock of the clock,

that seems so foreign here.


Perched upon my cushion of sand,

time and eternity blend

into the now that knows no end.


There’s nothing here that cares

about the broken rhythm and rhyme

I’ve left behind


—beyond myself.

AuthorChris Neufeld-Erdman