I Reflect on Padden Creek Estuary

On some maps “estuary,” on others “lagoon.”
Isn’t this where the conflicts begin, in maps

and language, semantics and word choice?
Isn’t this where the warring begins,

in denial of common waters and sacred ground,
as if water and land could truly be owned

or sold, apportioned to victors or buyers?
We are mere custodians, and we are failing.

What, exactly, is human nature? Yes.
Is war in our nature? No; war is a choice,

a narrative marketed and sold. Human
activities in bulk constitute a war on nature,

a war on the very underpinnings of life,
a war ultimately on ourselves.

Which is most important, nature or nurture?
Let me tell you a story: nature nurtures me,

serves as counterpoint to my struggles
with low self-esteem and despair,

longing and belonging. I could be wrong.

Lagoon or estuary — you know my preference —
this is where it all begins for me now:

the meeting and commingling of fresh
and salt waters, secret histories jostling

for daylight, the cycles of histories,
conflicts, and wars. The warring continues

everywhere. In myself, too: between
self-esteem and despair, desire and repair.

I am comforted by ecstasy and reverence
and by the knowledge of death’s certain

and confident approach.
But I’m not afraid. Why be afraid?

Death is and always has been
part of life. Warmongers and those

who profit by war would have us
believe this of war, too.

But war isn’t and has not been
part of life, not always. War must end,

and war will end. On some blessed day
in the future, peace will prevail on earth.

Our descendants will be astonished
at how long it took, will be astonished

at the carnage and horrific waste.
Humans will have, and know, peace.

I know this. There is enough for all
of us, if we begin simply —

with this understanding — all water
and all land is a common trust,

and sacred. All life is sacred.
On some blessed day in the future,

Padden Creek will be daylighted,
will be unobstructed by manmade barriers.

Padden Creek estuary will fill and empty,
nourish and nurture as it always has.
Padden Creek estuary will celebrate.


Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 34

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Activism, Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, NaPoWriMo ~ 2014, Poets, Samples, Trail Offerings, Transformation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Reflect on Padden Creek Estuary

  1. susanissima says:

    My favorite words are “nature nurtures me.” That is a central idea here, though you share many dichotomous points, as well, as you progress through this thought piece. Not sure whether war is part of human nature or not. It seems like there have always been conflicts over power/stuff/beliefs. Is that human nature or just humans running amok of their nature?

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments here.

      There are disparate ideas in this poem. I have notes for it going back to the first week of April 2014. I’ve been struggling with it.

      Blessings, and peace, Andy

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