Wednesday, October 13, 2010

[RP] Dreams in Salt, Part 2

I dreamed of the sea.

For days and weeks I stood hip-deep in waters that extended out to the horizon in every direction. The waves were gentle, or rather they were nil--not a breath of air stirred, and the ripples in the water lacked a current--but the water was deep on all sides and I dared not move for fear of what may lie beneath.

Each minute that passed was pregnant with feeling, though my surroundings seemed devoid of stimulus. The unchanging, tideless water belied the turmoil I felt within me.

Should I take a step forward and risk the depths? Or was it safer on this tiny bar of sand where I stood, both feet planted firmly on a disc of stone?

Weeks passed into months, months to years, years to centuries. I lived eternities on that rock. My skirt stuck to my legs as the sun baked in its berth in the mellow orange sky. My arms hung at my sides like sacks of grain, plunged to the forearms in saltwater that reflected vermilion fire on its rippling skin.

I began to wonder if I was frozen in time, if the tideless water merely paused mid-current, if the sun that never moved from its hook over the southwestern horizon, bloated and hot, simply waited for a sign.

If the world held its collective breath, what command could free me from this infinity of stillness?

Simply considering the question seemed to break the spell. Time crashed forward with a start and I stumbled from my perch, falling headlong into the dark, churning waters. The sun had long since passed and the stars gave off too feeble a light to guide me to the surface. I sank.

A strand of kelp twisted itself about my ears as I plummeted into the depths. Be ready, it seemed to say. We fell for hours, and just as I resigned myself to another eternity, this one of submersion in a cold, murky hell from which I would never escape, my feet touched bottom.

“Child,” came a voice from behind me, sweet and androgynous of tone. “My daughter. You struggle so.”

I opened my mouth to speak and was silenced by the sea. I tasted salt on my tongue. I tasted millennia and the tide of time.

“A wave alone cannot turn stone to sand,” I heard it say. “A leg alone cannot hope to stand. You are a criminal of circumstance, in a prison of your own making.”

Unseen fingers gently untangled the kelp from my ear. That brief touch opened a window in my mind and I saw the entirety of the ocean’s mighty existence in a single instant, every breath and gust of wind that ever carved the surface of its waters, every current that shaped the earth with painful slowness, the birth and death of every creature born beneath the waves, like secrets time forgot.

“Seek not all there is to know, but all that is worth knowing.” Those hands pressed the strand of kelp into mine and I felt again the wholeness of the sea, a totality almost too beautiful and complex for my mortal mind to bear, let alone comprehend.

The seaweed curled about my open fingers and palm. The complexity of its being struck me with full force as the owner of that strange, ethereal voice closed my hand around it; no longer simply an errant strand of kelp, it was an entity made up of countless interconnected parts, a creation of infinite beauty in finite form.

“Even kelp grows toward the sun.”


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