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  • Treading Water

    I am high up on a mountain, and I am
    treading water in a mountain lake.
    Treading water,
    the sea-green sheen of water that is
    dipping through my fingers, clustering through my toes,
    winding around my chest and lapping at my head-
    but I am not quite under.
    I am treading water.
    The world around me is still, lush, suspended in water.
    The fresh smell of the lake encompasses all.
    And I barely know how to say,
    but I know
    that the whole world is treading water
    with me,
    from the fish that glide through this lake on icy fins
    to the silent owls that hunt them at night,
    from the circling trees whose roots reach for the lapping of the waves
    to the long-legged spider that is dangling
    from a patch of grass at the water’s edge,
    poised on graceful tiptoe, balancing on a silver web that is
    too thin to even see;
    treading water.
    The whole world is treading water,
    pushing down on it, sifting our bodies through the greenish glass.
    We are almost under,
    but not quite.
    We keep our eyes fixed on the sky above,
    not quite certain
    that there is a bottom to this lake,
    just as we know
    there is no top to the sky,
    pouring, pouring over,
    reflecting the truth.
    I am treading water.

    Going Under

    I am letting go.
    I am too tired to keep myself afloat anymore.
    I am sinking down, I am losing sight of the sky,
    of the beautiful world,
    my eyes are covered in water.
    As my body lowers through the shifting glass,
    its green turns to black.
    It is dark down here. It is cold.
    I make myself still.
    Slowly, each delicate beam of sunlight
    that ties me to the world above
    stretches, grows thin, and breaks,
    until I am free.
    I cannot see. My eyes are closed.
    I do not think, after all, that there is a bottom to this lake
    through the water.
    I sink. Deeper and deeper.
    My limbs float outward, spread-eagled.
    My body thunders without air.
    I am so deep. And when I open my eyes,
    I have drifted all the way down
    into the sky.
    It is pouring, pouring over.
    Its color is the truth.
    I no longer tread water
    or stay above the surface.
    There is no bottom and no top,
    no surface and no depth.
    I am free.
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