For miles the still ocean calls to me;
its voice clear,
clean,
empty.

“Why are you here?” it asks.

Why indeed.

“I’ve come to write among the waters,” I answer.
“Life-giving and hearty, they are;
in hopes I will too gain that which is abundant.”

“You are not one of us,” it breathes heavily.

“Ah, but I am also water.
Can you not feel it?” I ask.

A pause. A gentle swell of waves.

“Come to us so that we may feel you,” it says.
Nervous, anxious energy.

“Yes,” I murmur.

My limbs descend into the silky fluid that is water;
my torso submerges.
Slow currents caress me.
I am home.

“We feel you,” it says,
“Welcome.”

One last swirl and then calm:
Relief.
Tingles across my skin.

I’m in my boat again,
wet and reassured.
The hazy summer sun evaporates the ocean’s lifeblood.
My mind is clear.

“I am inspired to write here, among you, the water,” I say.

Wind shatters the silence.
Hair whips across my face.
Uneasiness creeps into my soul.

Ominous grumbling in the distance;
in contrast to the shades of azure blue.

“You are not safe here,” it says.

“But why? Why am I not safe?” I ask in confusion,
“You welcomed me.”

My heart skips a beat, or two.

“Come another day,” it urges.

Torment,
loneliness,
hurt,
regret.

Wave after wave of emotions
crash into my boat.

I am capsized; sputtering to stay above water.

“GO NOW !” It screams.

“How can I?
My boat is no longer afloat.
I am alone in your lifeblood, water.
Tell me what to do !”

Icy fear liquefies my spine.
“Tell me what to do,” I beg.

“Surrender yourself to me,” it whispers.
Winds build to carry its message.

“Be part of me, one with me:
clean,
pure,
free,” it entreats.

Cold dread turns me to stone.
I begin to sink.
“NO !” I blast.

Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
I am what I am.
Why does it want to hurt me?

Anguish,
joy,
fulfillment,
flows around my body.
It tugs at my legs,
pulls me down,
down,
down.

After a while, I am released.
I surface,
choking.

“Don’t hurt me,” I beg.

Stillness:
nothing but rippling waves for an eternity.
I am so tired.

“We are doing what we must,” it finally says.

“Why ?” I cry.

I float on my back
staring up at the blue sky,
filling with shades of purple and grey.
Water swirls under me,
around me.
Tears mingle with water.

“We are water,” it says,
“you are water,
you are here.”

“But I am not like you !” I cry.
“I can’t be with you !”

Silence.
Uneasiness.

“You were lying to us ?” it tentatively asks.

“YES !” I sob.
“I wanted to be like you, to fit with you, to know you !”

Confusion.
Annoyance.
“We are water, you are other,” it says.

A blast of water near me.
My boat sits atop the water,
free and clear,
right side up.

I climb inside with
aching relief,
tears.

“Do not pretend to be us,” it warns,
“you are not like us,
we are not like you.”

“I won’t,” I promise,
“I won’t.”

I grab the oars and begin to row.
Back to shore;
back to safety.

My journal sits on the seat in front of me:
Dry and open to the first page.
A drop of water the only entry.

I grab my shirt to wring it out, but it is dry.

I look up to the sky.
The sun casts a farewell glance,
red and golden heat on the horizon,
marred by charcoal clouds in the distance.

A flock of seagulls cry.
Laughing from somewhere close.
The savory smell of hickory smoked barbecue
tantalizes my senses.

A glance to my right:
the dock is beside me,
the boat tied off.
I am still here.

Realization sets in.
I haven’t left the dock.

My hand trails aimlessly in the water.
Cool flowing liquid.
Young weeds surface, brush my hand.

“Thank you,” I whisper in reverence,
a glance at the foreboding blackness in the sky.

I pick up my journal and climb onto the dock.

“Another day,” I say to the water.

A wave crashes into the dock;
a small spray of water kisses my face.

“Yes,” it says,
“another day.”

Stay in tune with nature; do not pretend to be something you are not.

Shelley Ann Vrgleski, Artwork on Mind's Canvas