Navigating

The paddle in my hands 
moves my craft where I need
want
it to be.
I am adept 
as I weave with
against
the current
ever forward.
I steer
navigate 
drift
perfectly
purposely.

Rapids swirl 
out of nowhere.
My vision fills only 
with the immediacy of 
the next rock
the next bramble of 
fallen tree
the nearest crash to avoid.
With no eye towards an end
I pilot 
only to the urgent.
To survival.

The light is gone.
Replaced not by 
blackness
but by a half light 
that dances shadows
across my path.
I paddle desperately
still
and the rock that 
throws me into 
the waves hits me
hard.
Unseen
with no warning.

The current is gone, 
replaced with an
expanse of violent,
churning water.
It has delivered me to 
the ocean.
I careen  
in the blackness 
that has fallen.
The skies above me 
are swirling winds 
that howl and 
scream at me.
I am rolled and 
tumbled in the freezing 
waters,
the ocean gnaws at me,
trying to swallow me whole.

A torrent of rain
pushes me down 
as heavy fingers 
from below attempt to
draw me ever more
insistently into the 
depths.
I fight
but I’m not sure why
anymore.
I struggle to reach
the surface again
when I don’t even care if I drown.

Bursting through the 
surface.
The thick of the black 
now mere a gossamer 
silk covering
as I capture breath
deeply into my lungs.
Storms rage on
in the waves while
swirling currents 
below soften ever so
slightly.
Time is lost to me. 
I am under again
as endless swells 
knead me into the 
folds of the sea.

The sky is twilight 
now as I burst through
yet again.
The crests of the waves
surround me,
visible among the 
breaks that
now live within them.
I can see it coming
now and I ready
myself.
A second to brace
before they send me reeling.
Breath has a chance 
to fill my body
before I am tossed
within again. 

I am treading water
in the growing light.
The sky is softer, quieter.
The slowly heaving sea is 
never-ending
as my eyes watch the 
swells that grow from afar.
I see them as they
approach now, 
no longer blindsided.
The storm is releasing
its grip.


The wave rears up
in front of me
blocking any glimpse
of dim light.
I am small in its
shadow.
Almost invisible.
I face it,
moving to meet it.
I swim hard,
forcefully.
To meet it. 
I dive. 
Into it.
Under it.
Deep and strong.
Knowing now that
there is calm 
on the other side
of it. 
And that I will
reach it.

 

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