Craig Santos Perez
when the tide
then with the paddle
of your tongue
the letters to form
I had the metaphor in mind before I read the poem. I imagined that during this time in history, it seemed as if I was in the middle of the ocean. The sea wasn't necessarily turbulent. Only at times. The waters felt warm on my skin. I was a strong swimmer, and I had a boat. There was no land in sight, though. I trusted that at some point I'd see the shoreline in the distance. Until then I had provisions. I could cope in the endless blue. In the uncertain geography.
Imagination led me to what I stored in my canoe...
Writing--Almost daily, I kept a log of my time at sea. My feelings. My dreams. Detailing my journey a form of catharsis. A therapy. A friend.
Reading--Perhaps reading has been my greatest delight. I'm grateful that the library has curbside service now. I enjoy the feel of a book, the weight in my hands. I place my order online. I can see the librarian's shining eyes above her mask as she passes my bundle of books to me in her gloved hands. Happy to furnish supplies to see me through another day at sea. I scroll on Twitter and note that Johnny Depp has followed me. I laugh out loud and feel a little giddy. A movie star has recognized me out here in this lonely expanse. Maybe he's felt lonely too. Even with all his fame. Then I read a book that is so good, I would describe it as "delicious." And I say, "If only I could write like that." But then I don't let its depth and creativity discourage me. I give thanks that just by reading, the beauty wears off on me. Enhances my writing.
The Psalms--I haven't been able to leave the Psalms. I've read up to Psalm 93 thus far, my Bible full of yellow highlights. If reading has been delight, then the Psalms have become my greatest solace. I gulp comfort from the Word as I might drink cold, sweet water. Grateful there is no salt. Sated. His Word is intimacy and strength in these waters. My hope. I have learned not to dread nights on the ocean. I hear the water lapping at the sides of my canoe, almost like a melody. The sky is pierced through with radiant starlight. Navigation.
Your steps formed a highway through the seas
with footprints on a pathway no one even knew was there.
You led your people forward by your loving hand. (Psalm 76:19-20, The Passion Translation)