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this morning I rose quietly,


knowing what I had to do.

the tide was low

and I had to see what I could see.


the sleeping rock,

normally covered

by lush and lapping waters

was exposed,

naked and approachable for me.


with nothing between us,

I stepped my bare feet onto the smooth cold sand,

my eyes eagerly grasping

at what lay before me:


dark, holy rocks

stitched with bright green sea hair,

families of clam shells clustered together

and the single eyes of anemones closed tightly,

gooey, flaccid blue green life.



this is when they rest.

in the breaking of the day

above the busy waters of their lives.


how can something so primitive

and essential

be so shocking and

alien to my supposedly evolved self?


my eyes find the bodies of a few

starfish wedged into this amphibian craft.

they are muted and fat,

orange and red flesh

folded into the crevices before me.


they cling so tightly and assuredly

to what they believe in.

I wonder if I do the same?

and could I ever do it so beautifully?

so languidly?


I am broken,

by the sound of water bubbling,


leaking up and out of the holes it has found.


earth is simply breathing,

refreshing her gills

on this grey august morning in the fog.

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About the Author: Anna Domatila Schulman

Wilderness Therapist, queer poet activist, non-binary thinker, original witch, and mistake maker. My ancestors are Polish Jews, colonizers from England, horses and magpies. In my lineage, I am both the target of and enactor of oppression and diaspora. I currently reside in so-called “Denver, Colorado”.

I wrote this poem on the second morning of our youth’s 48-hour solo as a guide for Rites of Passage Journeys in Washington last summer. It speaks to the liminal container these brave young participants had ventured into, as well as the liminal space that beckons each guide to enter as we help create these opportunities for others. The confluence of rites of passage work is that we guides undergo our personal rites of passages as we hold space for others to do the same. It is the reciprocal gift that keeps on giving and forever humbles me.

Youth Passageways Blog

Welcome to the Blog. Here you will find current and archived versions of our ENewsletters, Updates, and posts from partners, and guests.

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