Expanse

bridge03.jpgA wide river mouth stretches out to both sides of the narrow highway bridge. White clouds hover lazily above the fir-coated hills of the opposite river bank. Fishing birds dance on a sandbank, that will later flood with the incoming tide. My car zips down the curvy road, first towards and then away from that wide expanse of river, land and sky.

The birds rise up in concert and settle back down on a different sandbank, ever busy with the hunt for their next meal. So too it is with me. If my time was my own, I would instead lay down on the warm sand and stare into the clouds. Their peace would fill my lungs until I floated to that distant shore.

Or would I? Even if my body is at rest, my mind leaps from stone to stone, wildly searching for the answer to an unknown question– without busyness there is boredom. Perhaps my only hope of reaching those clouds is in brief moments of longing such as this.

I imagine these birds are not the kind to travel very far South for the winter, instead dispersing amongst their breeding grounds nearby when it gets colder. Do they look to the skies when the geese fly high above them in formation, and wish they, too, could travel to a distant shore? Are birds that self-aware?

Like the birds, I live in my own bubble, and am not aware enough to see outside it. Any amount of polish on the bubble’s glistening shell only makes it shine ever brighter back at me, until I am blinded by my own reflection. Still I work and polish, until the oil-slick rainbow is bright and beautiful. Stubbornly I think that if I keep rubbing at it, the film will start to tear, and I will simply fall into that great expanse.

The birds on the sandbank rise up again, this time flying in a cluster above my car as I cross the highway bridge. I’ve reached the opposite bank. Looking back across the river, the place I came from looks so distant– not unlike the shore I stand on now once looked, when I gazed at it with longing from the other side.

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