Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tinkers by Paul Harding

"How can I not wonder what it would be like to sit in that cold silver water, that cold stone water up to my chin, the tangled marsh grass at the level of my eyes, sit in the still water in the still air, bright day behind me lighting the face of everything under the dark millstone cloud lid in front of me, watching the storm coming from the north? There is my father whispering in my ear, Be still, still, still. And yet you change everything. What was the marsh like, waiting for the storm before you came and kneeled in the water? It was like nothing. Watch after you leave the water, now cold and regretful, miles from home, certain of the belt on your backside, the cold shoulder, the extra chores; watch. Watch the water heal itself of your presence -- not to repair injury but to offer itself again, should you care to risk another strapping, because instead of the sky being dark and the trees and stones bright, the next time the sky will be bright but the world gloomy. Or there will be rain with no wind. Or wind and sun. Or a starry sky laced with clouds that look like cotton thread. You could not do better if you passed a thousand acts of Congress."

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