Friday, December 04, 2015

Get Off the Boat

So very very dark. 

Decades have been spent on this very white prow.
Pulling, heaving, gasping, weeping. 

You can’t remember when you arrived. It seems you have always been here. It felt once like the right thing to do - get on, go. That’s what you heard.

You should! they declared. 
You’d better! they quipped.  
Why wouldn't you? they dared.  

This massive ship, this heavy heaving hulking mass - it has carried you for a very long time. You were up for this journey, for a long time. You trusted this boat to churn in a solid direction, for a long time. You expected to arrive, for a long time.

Early on you realized the ship was only drifting. 
Aimless. Non-directional.

Do-or-die focus: Steer the ship.

The marine steering wheel - broken. Turn and turn and turn, push and pull and strain and cry. It's a useless empty-iris eye that taunts you with its barely-there night-glimmer.

It’s only the splintered mast, one long pole upon which no sail ever flew, and you, dipping it over the edge, again. Again. Again.

Is the ship shifting? You’re putting in the effort. You feel the stress and strain coursing through every vein, feel it in every pore. Clouds pass over head, big fluffy creatures or endless woolen blankets, the sole accompaniment on this journey.

It’s always been night here. Always dark. Where is the moon? Faint stars have never illuminated a way - the distance is dark blue and empty, so dark you could be coming up on something and not know it. 

Below you can just barely make out the waves. Harsh-soft silence. Up and down, up and down, sometimes in quick succession, sometimes in almost-undetectable slow motion. Always the heaving.

Where are you going?
If you only knew. 

You chose this.
Yes, you did.
You just can’t remember why.


One day, tensed and muscled from years and years of hard physical labor as the sole attempter to change the ship’s direction -- 

One day, shredded and frayed from years and years of hard mental labor as both the inquisitor and the accused with no answers -- 

One day, tattered and hardened from years and years of hard spiritual labor as the doubter and almost-faithless -- 

It dawns on you.

You could.

The cold waves below! Surely leaving means death, a pulling under, a fatal swallowing. 

Up here, I have control. Up here, I can feel my way.

Or can I?

Use the ladder.
Or don’t.

You may have never been a sea / water person in the first place. You may have, all along, needed to feel terrain under your hands and feet.

What contract did you sign that mandated you stay here until your dying days, stay the course, suffer?


What if leaving the Trying was freedom? What if relaxing into the current took you exactly where you needed?

You decide.
You do it. 

Suddenly the churning below are not waves.
They’re soft deep purple blue velvet.

What you thought were weak stars reflected in the water are actually crystalline way-showers lit from below. “Step here,” they call out. “Follow us,” they call out. 

It is soft, warm, dry, and clear. The clouds part.

A silver sail you never saw before drifts away from the disintegrating ship. 
Airborne. Flying.

On it is an inscription faintly illuminated by moonlight:
“To arrive, you must first leave.” 

My small painting sits beside the bed as the Ultimate Reminder.

Another imperfect post, accompanied by:
Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home
Related posts:
Inviting the Yeti

The Thing Behind the Thing
Trista Hill is a professional harpist and fine artist, creativity coach, educator in the arts, and Board-Certified Music Therapist. What her formal degrees in music and art gave her pale in comparsion to the gifts she's experienced in working with creatives just like you. Visit her website — — for links to her monthly letter, performances, and other fantastical creative offerings. 

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