You are standing on the edge.
You can feel the water pulling at you like a magnet.
You are hesitating, curling your toes around the brim, fearing to be engulfed by that to which you long to surrender.
Why are you afraid to immerse the brush and draw the first line? Because it would breach an invisible membrane?
It is a declaration. Declaring yourself, you bare yourself.
The magnet wins. You close your eyes.
First — the shock, coming in.
Water is so different.
You get into the rhythm. The colors are streaming from your hands onto the page, and you dive into them.
Mouth, nose, eyes, outstretched fingers can only feel the water. As you cleave it, it allows you to pass. It retreats before your scything limbs. Here, in this pool, you are the brush, and the lines you leave tell the story of your body.
Unperturbed the water closes its currents where you have passed.
You surrender. And as you do, you discover the grace of your movements, the longing in your lungs. You learn that air can burn.
You know you cannot stay here. Every embrace that outlasts itself will turn to suffocation.
In the deep, where the laws of gravity no longer apply, you are beyond the reach of the endless cacophony of sounds, walls mortared with unyielding perspectives. The air, a waving reflection overhead, is but a hallucination.
The water, at once belly and womb, is where you are safe from the world.
You look up from the page at the story drawn there, the colors in which you have allowed yourself to disappear.
You know it is done.
Leaving the story is getting out of the water. The place where you were one with the stream but a moment ago is slipping from you now, falling away in fat droplets, and you are standing on the edge, shivering and bare.
In two worlds at once, in neither one of them at home.
The SAPLING series is a joint project with artist and illustrator Jurgen Walschot.
Saplings are creative sprouts. I will write to the images, he will draw to the words.
Like any seed, our saplings are reaching for the light, small and slender perhaps, but aspiring to grow tall.