the surface of things

I rented one of those stand-up paddleboards
for a day at the beach.

I had been on one before at the lake.
Well, it’s an entirely different experience
on the ocean!

First, you have to get through all the waves
out beyond where they break.
Then, you have to climb on,
between the swells,
straddle and sit on it,
rise to kneel,
and then it’s that very precarious transition
from the kneeling to the fully standing—
with the persistent temptation to kneel back down
back to that more stable position,
rather than accept the uncertainty of the imbalance
you feel on the way to standing up straight—
before standing fully erect
allows for a more stable sense again.

And in the midst of all this,
you kind of need to keep the board pointed
into the water rolling in toward you.

That’s what all I did anyway.

And I don’t think I would have ever said I felt steady—
what with the water moving and the board and me,
and with me so aware of all that moving—
all that moving just on the very surface of depths.

Perhaps more true an affirmation than we might assume
or ever think to make
standing on “solid” ground.


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