Walking on Water, Laying Bricks


The birds are walking on water, and I’m laying bricks around my heart.

The water this morning is deep enough to be a glassy surface, deep enough that some smaller birds are still paddling, leaving concentric ripples with their even strokes. I can only tell the tide is receding when they change flippers into legs, leave their graceful glide and begin to strut the surface. Birds are funny creatures, so divinely regal in flight, held in their serene swooping by the unimaginable lightness of air. In water, they appear equally as effortless and graceful. But earthbound, their movement becomes awkward – quick staccato struts and pecks and hops. I wonder how one creature’s dance can be so varied when partnered with different elements.

But it’s easier to talk about the birds, easier to watch them walk on water than to turn my attention to the impossible feat of closing you out.

It’s the kind of morning where everything is waiting. Waiting for the tide to make its full exit, leaving small reflection pools, and vast flats of mud and reed. Waiting for the sun to peak from behind the sleepy gray thickness. Waiting for the birds to find their sustenance from the bottom of the bay and launch back into the air.

I’m waiting for the draw-bridge to rattle shut, for the brick layers to finish their work. What’s amazing about this fortress is I sent no order for brick layers, they just showed up, knowing they were needed, and set to work in walling me in. Now all that’s left open is the draw bridge and its rusty chain. Having been open so long, it doesn’t remember what it is to close.

Perhaps I’m waiting for the rider to come streaming in before the gates close, leaping from solid ground to clatter onto wooden planks at the last possible instant. Waiting to hear the commotion of this unexpected but so anticipated visitor. Waiting to turn my head from the turret window, remembering what it is to ride in the direction of that which I desire.

For now, from this fortified tower, I sit and watch the birds, watch the tide recede, and wonder when I will see the birds take flight in grace, or dive deep into the waters of the next surge.


january 23, 2014


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