(105) Skills

I walk along a smooth deserted beach. It is soft hills and yellow sand and curling waves that gild my nose and lashes with salt and solace. I am a child and I walk, mostly feel and a little sight. Underneath my feet are patches of slippery hardness; slightly rounded and vaguely uncomfortable. My chubby feet press curiously with each step, my still-struggling balance a dicey question with every forward lunge.

I walk for a bit, days, maybe months. A year. And then, the wind shifts and to my right, a bit of cherry red glints through the sand. It is dark and mysterious. It is not threatening, but it winks at me through the light and because of the wind. I walk, still learning my balance, to the cherry promise of something different.

I kneel, and with my tiny hand, smooth away the last few grains of sand. I touch the gleaming glass cherry of softly rounded newness peaking from the endless lilt of pale yellow grit. My hand is what feels it, but the sensation is in my heart. I scrape and dig, the wind mocking my efforts with sand in my eyes. Sometimes I cannot even see the cherry and I am left with the barest silky glimmer at my fingertips to guide my efforts. My untried hands — now tried a little — are sore, and chapped, and resentful. They pull a bauble, an infant giant’s bauble, from the shore. It is heavy and unwieldy and half covered in the cling of familiar shifty grit.

But I cradle the glass cherry to my chest, and wipe the grit from the ever gleaming globe. My knees buckle as I walk, but I will not retire the orb. I walk with my aching arms and my crying back, the cherry red of my orb soothing my young woes with its shiny hardness and round fullness. I walk until the orb is smaller and my back is stronger, and the cherry sits now in my palm, just too big yet newly small. I walk tall with my orb that is clean and easy and shiny all over.

The light likes to play with my bright cherry bauble. A stray ray bounces from its happy sunny side, as it sits in the crook of my arm. The ray bounces and lands to my left, on a patch of oxford blue suddenly exposed by the giggling wind. And my heart leaps because my orb has grown so small; the smaller it got, the lonelier I felt. I walk to the patch, cherry red nestled under my arm, against my side. I kneel again, to dig and uncover. The winds laugh in the same way they always do, and I know that they have not changed course. I am different, kneeling in the lilt and grit, than on all the other days where I stride and gaze, and the winds laugh whether I am standing or crouching.

My eyes weep yellow pained streaks, and I unearth my cobalt bauble. This bauble is to my stronger back and my firmer grasp, what that infant giant’s bauble was to my childlike clasp. But I am overjoyed with its darkness and its newness, and I wrap my arms around its still gritty roundness.

As my arms unite, cherry red slips to kiss my cobalt blue, and then I am holding not two but one, plum gleaming globe, a color I have never seen. My one plum globe is lighter than my other two together, and bigger and brighter. I must shift my still smallish weight to turn it to its side and see its roundness in full. Its newness makes me forget its sides, so again I walk in childlike stumbles, shifting my weight to keep up with my plum bauble.

And I walk until my legs are sturdy…and my back sings softly…until my plum bauble sits in my palm, still too big…