the fine line between snow and water. it curved along the shore, made more obvious by the mudline separating the two. the edge between frozen and watery marsh appeared like a crayon thickly outlining the coloring book image, colored in with either whitish snow or blueish water.
standing on the shore – away from the edge – it’s pretty easy to see it…the place where, if you step, you will fall in. undoubtedly, there is also an area close to that place – but not as obvious – where you are also likely to fall in, where your boots will get all wet and perhaps you might lose your balance. you will be – maybe – covered in snow and mud, but you will be laughing there, because you will not have been in danger and it is not likely that you will be hurt. cold and wet, yes. but in real danger – no.
in a time of reorganization of our life together, we are trying to step closer to the edges…the ones we can see and the ones we can’t see. there are places and things that are oh-so-familiar to us, comfortable smushy places into which we sink, easy places to live in. there are places that push the envelope, places that push back and question and, even in that less-smushy-but-necessary zone, we steadily take steps. then there are those places that are a little frightening, a little less solid, a crossing-over place. these are the places we are finding we need to go now. we carry with us all the tools of our lives – education, experience, work, learnings along the way. as artists, as people working in the world, we toss our work over the open water so that it might float around and land – sometimes inside the edge, sometimes out past the buoy and the ropes that designate safe swimming.
and so, in the edge-approach, we glance down and see that our boots are getting wet. the leather – quite worn and no longer waterproof – is taking on marshwater. our socks are getting damp. but, we remind ourselves, we are not in danger. we are simply at the edge. there is much room for growth here, with our feet all wet. there is time to breathe and slow down our fast-beating hearts as we keep going. there is no worry about having to swim or tread water, for it is shallow. and the shallow water offers plenty of nutrients to feed us, teach us, keep us going. the edge looks scary and unfamiliar, risky, but we can see the horizon and the sky meets the land and we can recognize that.
every time we release an album, hang a painting, publish our words, stand in public with our art, openly protest unfairness – whatever it might be – we stand with feet on either side of the edge. we vulnerable ourselves to the world and we are in open water for the moments in which we allow ourselves to consider how our work – our standing there – is being received. but the foot that remains on solid ground – the one on the other side of the edge – holds us to terra firma. and, each time, i suspect, we have found it to be less scary to take the leap, not knowing.
i suppose right now should be no different.
“life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.” (d. h. lawrence)
read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY