He hung there, suspended between surface and depth, oxygen and solvent, ripples and stillness. The turtle stayed perfectly still, webbed feet motionless, his head just barely protruding from the deceptive water. He floated, indefinably content in the patch of sunlight that was picking its way though the adjacent tree branches to grace the water’s nebulous surface. The trees remained obstinate, stoic guards over the reflective, introspective pool, leaves reluctantly trembling in the breeze. The river, a sequence of gathered and flowing, of lentic and lotic, steadily, calmly, blindly stumbling onward. Amidst all of this, the turtle stayed. He rested. Soaking up the warmth of the ever-urging Sun, relishing the stillness of the ever-present water. One moment in which nothing was required but rest. But serenity. But surrender. As the sun receded, withdrawing its rays to continue along its path, so did the turtle. One last breath and it plunged below, beneath the atmosphere, beneath the certain, to the depth, to his journey. Ever filled by times of momentary, yet enduring rest.
She settled there, suspended between water and stone, doubt and foundation, uncertainty and promise. She stayed nearly still, hands clasped, head bowed as soft whispers of breath flowed in their cycle. The trees shrouded her in shade, steady and unaffected. The pool, rippling languidly, reflected her countenance in gentle waves, passing her contemplation in blind indifference. Exhales of breeze tugged at her hair, moving transient between the strands as the sun loitered across the water. Externally, she was a manifestation of the placid, ever trusting scene around her. Internally, she was a resonation of unannounced turmoil, driven by “what if,” “what about,” and “what I can’t see.”
I heard You loud and clear, she quietly accused. In that overly air conditioned room, I heard Your voice. Write. Isn’t that what You said? To write Your story. That my past is not for naught. To this is what you were called. I heard You. So why don’t I fit? Every other writer has their place, their genre, their niche. And I don’t fit. I thought that’s what You said: To write. That You would make me a writer, tell Your story through me. But what am I writing? It doesn’t belong; it isn’t definable. It has no title, no nice, neat classification in a textbook. I thought I’d found it in creative nonfiction. But everyone seems to assign that to memoirs, to memories turned to stories, your own stories, little else. What of my writing that isn’t stories? My writing isn’t stories. It is memories. It is moments. It is the thoughts inside my head, homeless, rambling, until I settle them on pages, bled onto the remnants of trees, still oxygen for my ever restless mind. It seems all that the world has room for is stories written by its own set definition. You told me to write. But there is no place for my writing. I don’t understand. What is it You want from me?
The turtle drifted just so in the moment her searching eyes fell upon him. Calm, content, peaceful, bathed in sunshine. Write him. He knows how to do what you do not. She caught her breath, fighting all hesitation to obey the command she so desperately wanted to fulfill. She wanted to write. Uncertainty cast aside, she wanted to write.
The words stumbled roughly at first, tentatively, “he hung there…” ’till they began to come in rapturous urgency. Pause for reassurance. Clamoring for leaves, ripples, rays. ‘Till all withdrew, “…momentary, yet enduring rest.”
Write. I am the Promise Keeper.
One moment in which nothing was required but serenity. But surrender. The “what I can’t see” put aside. Rest.