Monday, April 23, 2012


my A to Z - every day of the challenge I will find a word by flinging my finger into my American Heritage Dictionary and then riff on it. The posts may be essays or poems or stories or memories. Who knows what will happen when we give Serendipity her wanton way?

Token - n. 3. A keepsake or souvenir.

My hand rises to touch the bit of coral hanging from a chain around my neck. It has been polished smooth in the constant movement of the waves in the Gulf of Mexico. I found it on one of my walks down the beach at Pelican Bay. It isn't the beach.  It isn't the dream-like quality of six women, long-time friends, moving through the days of their time together. It isn't the sensation of floating on the ocean, the sun pouring down, the salty brine holding me afloat. It isn't sitting on the balcony looking out over the mangrove, a drink in hand while someone made dinner. It isn't the sun hanging low, low, low and then dropping into that same ocean the coral came from. It isn't four perfect pelicans flying in flawless formation, each dipping their wings at the same spot as if they were the Snow Birds on Air Force Day doing their tricks. Nor is it the photo of the Buddhist teacher that was caught by a breeze and sailed off the shrine, out the balcony door and into the mangrove while we watched in sheer amazement. It isn't the faces of Raymond's friends (three of the six women) when they found out he had been murdered the night before by someone uttering homophobic obscenities. This coral isn't the laughter, the tears, the conversations, the experience of love and acceptance, of beauty and emptiness, of adventure, of fear, of sadness or of joy.
It is none of these things.
It is all of them.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - What an absolutely wonderful way to explain what a token is. It really is so many memories wrapped in one thing. Your 'photo is gorgeous, too.

Hart Johnson said...

That was beautiful. I am inclined to keep tokens, too.

deb said...

As one of the six, I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Jannie.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Tokens remind us of the whole picture.