Treading Water

We were always threatened by geese when we went to the farm.

“Don’t go over there,” they’d say, “the geese will get you.”

Unlike other threats, this one was true.

If you went over there, the geese would get you.

I’ve always wondered why geese have some of the worst attitudes in the bird world.

Then, I think about swimming.

More specifically, I think about what we see when we look at geese swimming.

And what is happening that we don’t see.

So often, when I read the fantastical, the incredible actions start to blur together in my head.

As the great feats are coolly and competently performed, I can’t help wondering-

How hard are your feet kicking under the water?

There are few things that come without effort, but often that work is hidden, moved out of the line of sight.

Every foot across the water, every unruffled turn of the head, is accompanied by frantic motion under the surface.

One time when I was swimming, I surprised a goose.

For a few seconds, I saw the power under the magic.

When I surfaced, I smiled, my head steady, my arms lazy.

Under the water, my feet churned the machinery of balance.

IMGP0490I understand the impulse, but I wish that they didn’t bite quite that hard

 

If you would like to read my book, The Guests of Honor, it is available over here.

What Stands Between

There is nothing like walking down a de-commissioned highway.

In a place where it rains, life aggressively over-runs the concrete.

Every crack from erosion is filled with moss or weeds.

They increase those cracks, spreading outwards like the green arms of a slow motion supernova.

Still, my eyes are always drawn to the concrete barriers on either side.

They have often been knocked about, slightly off-kilter.

Yet, even years after they served a purpose, they still mark the boundaries of wholly different worlds.

On one side, the remnants of failed empire, on the other, expansion so thick and tall that it blocks out the sun.

These barriers are dramatic, but they exist every where.

Sometimes physical, sometimes not.

When I write, I think of the things that separate.

I think of the things that scrabble on the concrete.

I think of the things that grow madly, wildly towards the sun.

IMG_0640A joining and a separation

On the Rocks

The first step isn’t the hardest.

When I look up at the jagged and uneven footing ahead of me, the first step is cautious, but well-prepared.

It is the six hundredth step, the one thousand and twenty-third step, when my concentration is blown and all I want to do is reach solid ground.

It is the split-second lack of focus, somewhere unremarkably in the middle, that results in an unforgiving fall.

In my stories, I think sometimes of the danger of exhaustion.

When someone has been facing trials for so long that their legs are weak and their minds are dull, that is when the disaster truly settles.

It is interesting to trace the roots of success or failure to the reaction to a single rock, somewhere in the middle of a thousand other rocks.

Success is not the careful planning at the beginning or the adrenaline-fueled charge at the end.

Success is the slight slip in the middle, corrected with patient focus, as your hands reach for the next surface.

IMG_0531A better way to handle rocks