treading water with a heavy heart

by tobias crabtree

there are mornings when i wake before dawn, when the world is still dark and the birds haven’t begun to sing…these are the hours most precious to me. this is when i visit my sorrows and fears, mostly because the distractions i use as my escape vehicle are not available. if i stay in bed with these visitors, i begin to sink, and sinking is not so good.

and so i move in the direction of those things that will swallow me up; sometimes the sea, sometimes the desert, sometimes the rivers that carve out granite canyons. i go to the sources. they wait for us, you know? the sources wait. they will always take us back. they have witnessed the dawn of humanity and they will witness our end. it is this ambivalence that draws me in…and i take all my soul’s trappings with.

we all get broken. and so i can say this without sounding pathetic, but i seek out insignificance when melancholy is in control. it seems easier to be.

so there are mornings, before the sun, when i run down to the ocean. i swim out through its thumping waves and into the dark. out there, swallowed in the darkness, teeth chattering, i tread water with my heavy ol’ heart. maybe it’s because the ocean is full of beasts that have enormous souls (souls way bigger than mine, and older, and far more secretive), or maybe because it is so close to something eternal (and are not our souls drawn to all things eternal? is this not where belief is born, in these moments of wonder…) , or maybe because it is the embodiment of all life and death, but when i swim to shore, i am as human as i get. i’m pretty sure this is life.

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