By Beverly Ross-Murray

His footprints track along the shore
And out to the seaweed’s edge
He stops where the land and the sea converge
On the rough, jagged point of black ledge

Perhaps he listens to the gulls aloft
Or watches the sandpipers flit
Maybe he sinks his feet in the sand
And chooses to rest there a bit

Today marks a new day like none lived before
With a sunrise he’s never yet seen
The sky is much bluer than words can describe
The trees, grass and mosses more green

There isn’t a moment of fear or of dread
Though he can’t really understand why
The journey before him is an adventure so grand
And now his freed spirit flies high

No longer encumbered by his body grown weak
His senses are peaked and alive
He’s ready to travel beyond this horizon
Back home from whence his soul first derived

He walks to his haul-off, painter covered in kelp
And effortlessly pulls in his craft
There’s no need to row or to outboard today

And I’ll bet with that notion, he laughed!

He knows where he’s headed and the wind is astern
No compass or chart will he need
He’s sailing to paradise, riding high and on course
A port of call he has earned, yes indeed!

Now his punt reaches shoreline and then it grounds out
His voyage home ended so soon
And when he hears voices filled with harmony and joy
He walks up along the beach to the dunes.

Then cresting the hill he saw the first face
And he knew right away he was “home”
A multitude singing some familiar old songs
Left him knowing there’d be no more need to roam

A mammoth white stage glowing bright in the sun
Was filled with musicians galore
Some were familiar and had once been great stars
Yet others had lived right next door

Instruments tuned to perfection were played
Some woodwinds, some brasses, some strings
Everyone there all joined in with the band
Joyous music! Such a magical thing!

And then the crowd parts and he’s led to the stage
Where he’s handed a banjo of pearl
He looks all around him and can hardly believe

All the beauty of this glorious new world

And then, right on cue, the group all began
to sing and to hum and to play
“There’s a place that I call paradise
and it’s not too far away….”

He knew the tune as he’d sung it so oft’
But, today, the words were never more clear
Heaven really is not so far away
In fact, it’s been right over here!

He plucked at those strings and sang out the words
Along with the thousands or more
A harmonious blend of sweet voices all strong
From angelic mouths that familiar song poured

A golden voice, strong and true once more
Fingers nimble and sure on the strings
Now part of God’s chorus, the ultimate gift
What an amazing and wonderful thing!!

Background music is Brother singing "Casco Bay" with the Wagoneers, a song written by Charlie Gilliam