Sometimes, it seems there are no words. No words to write that seem worthwhile. No words that fit without pinching or coming all undone and hanging loose around the ankles. Oh, they’re there. But it seems as if they aren’t. They lay dormant behind a wall of worry or disappointment or fear or questions that remain unanswered or too much going on or nothing going on at all.
I tried to say it – floundering to find the words - when my writer friend and I talked on the phone. She had called me to check in, and it was clear she understood.
I leaned against the stone wall and stretched my right arm out across the ledge, hoping the concrete slab might surrender a bit of coolness to my bare skin. It was over a hundred degrees, even here under the overhang.
Just on the other side of the wall, resting in the branches of a small tree, sat a silent black bird. I guessed he must feel stifled in the heat. No song to offer in the still and gooey air that hung heavily around my shoulders. Or maybe he just wasn’t in the mood to be noticed. Maybe the effort of trying to keep breathing while the mercury held its ground above the triple digits was all the silent bird could focus on.
I could relate.
I shifted my weight to my other foot and listened to the words my friend spoke through the phone. She, with the sweet voice and the great laugh. As I watched the silent bird and wished for rain, my friend’s words ran a rivulet and formed a cool, wet pool in the bottom of my tired heart.
They say water seeks the lowest places.
I continued leaning against that wall, my back resting on the stones, and she was telling me it’s fine to just write from here. Right here. With the words lost somewhere in the dark and the air all heavy and the bird zipped up tight and a heart inside my chest that seemed to weigh a ton.
With my right foot, I pushed away from the craggy surface, and the lump in my throat took me by surprise. A taproot to the corner of my heart.
They say water seeks the lowest places, and that it has the power to carve through walls of stone.