Here, in our house by the rising sea,
Waves crash against walls as if they are attempting to shake them,
but the stillness is oppressive.
They ask why we remain here.
Well, to leave would be a crisis.
When you only know one thing,
when all that is familiar to you is just beneath your feet,
it is hard to run your hands along another banister,
to feel different sheets against your skin.
Even the stillness would be, in the way that stillness must be, missed.
For if we were away, the awayness of it would consume us,
and we could not think of what lay ahead or around,
only of what lay in that house by the shore.
The cliffs will erode to teetering poles,
the sea will rise to cover the sun, the moon and stars,
and still we will be here,
on a tattered old couch in this shack by the sea.
There is no true reason to stay
except that to imagine the house with us absent is to imagine an unfinished sentence,
is to imagine a world God had forgot to put light into.
Even outside, at the rocky shore,
we are watching the house, waiting for it to move.
Because one day, one day surely
the waves will be high enough to bring it crumbling down into the hungry sea,
the banister too far gone to touch.
We will move away, to a home where movement is not a blank waiting to be filled in.
Unless, of course, we stay.
Unless we look at the sea and see all it has taken from us,
and fling ourselves into the roaring water.
Unless we dive, beyond light, beyond breath,
in search of this home instead of our sky.
Unless we open the door to this house,
except it is not this house,
it is full of saltwater and promises,
and we live there.
You’ll say this is impossible, but listen,
the only difference between being living above the sea and living below the sea is that now you root for the waves.
But what, after all, is this good for?
Surely, we will miss the light as much as we missed the house.
Surely, the house will began to decay,
walls expanding with water.
Why did we think we could live here?
Still nothing moves,
and now we can’t breathe.
We could never breathe in this house,
never on the cliffs or the beach,
the house stole everything from us and we could never see it in the light.
So we will learn to swim, will learn to leave,
for what else is there to do?
And years later,
when we have broken the surface,
climbed up the cliffs,
mourned the house,
bought a ticket,
ridden a train,
and moved into an apartment far far from the sea,
we will still know the house exists.
We will be making tea when the sound of the angry kettle reminds us of the relentless waves,
see a child about to fall and be reminded of the way the cliffs rocked back and forth,
even when nothing pushed them.
But we will not need these reminders to see the house,
It can be found in any pause, in any rest.
From the depths of the sea,
it will draw us towards it again,
with a pull even stronger for the distance.
But this time, we will not go to it.
This time, we will stay where things move.