Brine

The birds and leaves slow-dance as day breaks through the shell of night like a newborn chick.  Reflections of naked trees in the windowpane of the first frost.  Everyone knows the same thing deep in their tendons and veins.  Those who are sick begin fretting harder.  I can feel their uncomfortable darkness in my hand – the same hand that longs to build fires, futures, cradles, libraries, cabins in the woods.

We hold our secrets in the pit of our stomach, below the rib cage.  We step into today.  You choose, day by day, to put away the decisions you might have made differently, as if they were ancient artifacts in top secret government vaults, and try to decide what you’re going to do now, today.

As you maneuver along the crowded street, and pass the cigar smoke on the bistro patio and hear the tinkling of glasses chime with laughter inside, you suddenly realize you’re not missing out on anything.  You don’t even stop, you just move on.  Bakers will go to work soon, to make bread and pastries on the graveyard shift.  Then they’ll come home smelling of yeast and dough, their eyes drooping as children get off to school, as farmers drive trucks full of vegetables to market, as fishermen arrive at the wharf with their cargo, however meager or bountiful it might be.

You raise your face to the sky, remembering that all around the world there are monks being silent in their devotion to God, and there are sick people crying out in pain and fear.  People are getting married, driving taxis, working out in their barns, waiting for a phone call, counting their change, snapping photos of lavender fields and cathedrals and elephants, planning a robbery, a murder, a bombing, rehearsing for a play, doing their taxes, paddling out from the beach on their surfboards, recovering from breakups and hangovers, longing for high wild places washed in wind, eating pizza and chicken wings.  Life is brine and we are all soaking in it, curing in it.  Try to relax.  There’s nothing to miss out on.

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