Before we get started, thank you SO much for helping my first post of sketches tie for the “best writing/poetry post” on Megan’s Best of 2018 awards! It was lovely of you all to nominate me, for that and for the other categories. It made my day!
Anyway, I mention that because… today I have another sketch for you! I wrote it almost a year ago, but waited to post it til I had another set of pictures to go with the words. Now I do, and I’m so excited to share it!
These words are a little bit strange, but honestly, so is my mind sometimes. XD I still like it (especially the ending), and I hope you do too. 🙂 Find a comfy spot, sit down for a spell, and enjoy…
This evening I walked out of the house, into the sound of frogs. It was warm today, warm as a summer night, and my feet just turned themselves toward the pond. I came closer; a heron flew out of the water and disappeared. The frogs were quiet as I crackled the dried brush in the field, except for a few voices in the distance that couldn’t feel my footsteps.
I wandered onto the dock, stepped on the weathered boards, thought of the stories I’d heard of this pond. Wondered what kind of feet had passed here before, wondered who had stood here and fished and what they had done and where they had lived.
I sat on the end of the dock and dangled my feet over the edge. The water rippled silently under the boards, passing and passing, like Time, I thought. It kept moving and moving and there was nothing anyone could do about it, because more ripples kept coming and all you could do was swim with the tide.
I stared at the water til the smudges and reflections on the water turned into thousands of little fish gliding across the surface. The sun glinted off the ripples and made them move, up and down, over the bright hills and into the shadowed valleys. They all swam together, swaying and wriggling back and forth and flowing smoothly through the water with the wind at their backs, with Time at their backs.
They were all swimming the same way – none could escape the breath of Time, pushing them forward together, shimmering and glittering from black into white, blue into yellow, and finally fading away where the sun no longer reached them and all was dark and motionless, at the edge of the pond, at the edge of their world.
I sat and watched Time pass by. I didn’t get caught in the current and I didn’t fight against it. I just sat above it, watching, and the fish kept swimming, intent on their business, shining together. The pond was filled with a million wrinkles, a million dips, a million dimples from a million smiles, and I smiled back.
The frogs were getting louder now. Their croak was a vibration, a push-and-pull purr, a see-saw. Creee-CREEE-creee-CREEE-creee-CREEE. Like kneading dough, like a kitten pushing her paws into your knees, rolling and massaging in a peaceful rhythm. A rubber band rhythm that was give and take, give and take, and if you don’t, you will ruin the harmony, you will ruin the song. And the song is what holds us together.
When we sing together, we are one, separate no longer, filling the air and surrounding each other with the flow of notes. You can’t only give, you can’t only take. The world needs all kinds, two kinds, we must all be two kinds or it will ruin the harmony and we will fall apart. The song will become a rusty croak and we will fall to pieces without the rubber band rhythm that wraps us, holds us together.
I wanted the frogs to sing louder, like they had before I disturbed them, but they wouldn’t be rushed. I have to go in soon, I thought, hurry up and sing for me. They weren’t hurried. They weren’t bothered by the hand of Time: they just slipped under and waited placidly, waited and watched until it was safe to come out and sing again. They waited and I waited but the fish kept swimming.
I sat there and thought of thoughts and watched the fish and the sun go down. The breeze was warm and it made the peacefulness heavy and comforting, like the weight of a quilt when you’re falling asleep.
The air was heavy with the silence of little sounds. I waited patiently while dried seeds rustled restlessly inside their brittle cases, chattering impatiently up in the branches of a tree with its arms held up to the sky…
The sky. It was being sliced, torn apart. I watched jets cut it: tiny little sharp knives that glinted in the sun. They left their scars behind. I watched them turn from gleaming white to dull purple-gray, soften from hard edges to lace, and then dissolve, floating away like feathers into the blue around them. More and more jets passed by, more and more scars appeared and darkened and spread.
I looked away, and when I looked back, they were beaming. Suddenly they were glowing brilliant coral-pink in the sun, soaked in the sun. The scars were leaking all over the sky, bleeding pink and orange even as the jets tore the edges further, ripped the scars longer and longer…
The scars weren’t gray now. They weren’t dull. They were filled with glory. The dross is purged and the gold shows through and it is dripping everywhere. The wounds must hurt like fire – they look like fire, but they are beautiful.
And I wondered, why am I always finding beauty in brokenness? No matter where, I see it. Should I see the brokenness more?
Sometimes, you cannot conquer sadness with happiness because you can find no happiness left to conquer it with. Sometimes the scars are there, plain and stark and white, and they never drip with glory, no matter how long you’ve waited. Sometimes – many times – a string is broken because someone took without giving back, and the song falters. Sometimes the song falters and never returns. Maybe these things are always, not sometimes.
But then, I thought, I know why I always see beauty in brokenness. I know why we always want a happy ending. Because we know there will be one.
Because the greatest Storyteller has built that longing into his characters, and we know the story isn’t over until we live happily ever after where the beauty of broken things will be indescribably overshadowed by a world with no shadows, a world where there is beauty without brokenness, where the happiness never ends because there are no afters.
The sun was dying and the scars were getting brighter and I walked away, ran away, back towards home. I walked home thinking of fishes and frogs and scars in the sky and wondering what I would say to you if you were walking beside me. I would point to the streaks in the sky and tell you what I saw with the eyes of my heart. Could I make you see it with yours?
My heart aches again, like it has so many times when I wished you were here and wondered what I would say if you were. Would I say anything or can words like these only stream from my fingertips?
When I looked at you, could I say what I thought when I’m not thinking in words? When my thoughts are smudges, like the fish in the pond that I can’t quite catch, could I catch them for you? Or would I just smile and sigh and walk on in silence, listening to you and nodding at you and keeping the smudged words inside for later, when I can polish them. Just listening and wondering if you ever thought what I am thinking or am I the only one.
One day, dear, one day I’ll find out. One day I’ll see if I can make you see it too, or if some things can only be seen by one pair of eyes. Maybe. But I would still try. I would close one eye and you could close one eye and we’d be that pair of eyes and see together.
I’ll give if you take; then you can do the same to me, and we’ll sing together and the world will smile and fish will swim past us, but we’ll be the frogs and slip under Time’s hand, singing to the push-pull purr and dripping glory from our scars.