SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Monday, Dec. 01, 2003 @ 12:51 am
The Cheshire Cat



Here flows the water, over the edge, over the slanted corduroy-ridged slate cliff face, down onto the seaweed-caped shore. In the pebble beach the fresh water becomes saline, cloudy, as it seeps into the sea.

Forever the ocean rolls over, flicks against the shore. I walk on the shore, the water above, below, surrounding me. Breathing in the fine rain that hangs like fog. Turning over oysters and clams, empty shells, capturing the scattering crabs.

Wet, rain down my neck, damp behind the ears, crabs in hand. And sea glass in my pockets, always the sea glass. Pale green, soft white, brown. Brown the colour of kelp. In my memories the kelp dogs gallop at our heels. My hands burn from the twisted leashes of kelp.

I let them go, I let the crabs scuttle off along the pebble beach. My hands, burning with cold and the tightly twisted remembered kelp, let the crabs go.

There flows the water, over the edge, over my freckled face.

It's all gone, it's all here. I cannot find the pearls, but the sea glass is everywhere. I see it now; I see what they cannot see.

I pull myself onto a low-slung cedar limb. A strange meeting between the forest and the sea. Up the trunk I climb, the oceanscape opens up, a lazy dinghy pulling at its anchor, a lighthouse blinking on the rookery offshore. And the rounded blue islands overlapping on the horizon.

Postage stamp sized sea glass. I finger one piece over and over, the cool softness wonderful to touch. The heavy mist blows past in swirling clouds. A figure is emerging, solidifying in the fog. He's in front of me.

It's him. And it is. It's really him, he remembered me, and he has come to find me. He's holding in his hand my heart; it is beating and dark blood runs over into the seaweed and brine. He comes towards me, looks at me.

"I've been thinking about you," I confess, "I've thought about you a lot."

He just stands there. He looks from me to the heart still beating in his hand.

"I remember when you first reached out to me. I remember when you first listened to me, and into you I fell. I fell into you, completely, and I didn't know how to escape."

Still he stands there. The rain crescendos yet he is dry. He bends down and gently places the heart into the flicking waves. It floats, tumbles in the surf, and then vanishes. He stands up and begins to walk away.

"You told me that there was nothing wrong with you and me. You told me that you were always honest with me. I believed you. I could not help but believe you, because into you I had already fallen."

He turns once, looks up at me through the limp cedar green, and he says, "All I saw was your smile."

I blink. Up in the tree I sit, aware of how I blend in, invisible, the Cheshire cat. I took it all too seriously.


Roots | Shoots