Lines Upon The Sand

Somewhere,
In the space
Between the two of us.
There is a field of sand.

As I look across that sand
I can see you.
Standing over there.
And the only thing at all
Between the two of us
Is sand.

Like the sand on the beach.
Or the sand of the desert.
Sooth.
Unbroken.
Unmarked.

The wind even blows away
The footprints others made
In that sand.
The footprints I have made myself.

As I look back
Along the path I’ve walked
On this endless sand.
I can’t tell you
Where I came from.
That trail vanished
So very long ago.

All that I can say is,
“I came from over there,
Somewhere.”

I would walk right up to you.
Offer you some water
From the canteen I have with me.
Ask you how you are.
If you are OK.
If you need a place to rest.
Time to catch your breath.
Before you start once more
On your journey
Across the sea of sand.

But I know not too.
I’ve learned.
To you,
The sand is not the same
As it is to me.
For you see things
Drawn in the sand.
That aren’t there
For me to see.

Where I see smooth sand,
And nothing more
Between the two of us.
You see lines
Drawn upon the sand.

And each line has a rule
Written on a sign
That tells you the meaning
Of the line
Each sign is for.

How to live.
How to talk.
How to behave.
Around another human being.
What to say
And how to say it.
When to smile
And when to frown.
And when to offer help.

There are even lines
Drawn in that sand
That tell you not to get to close
To the people you meet
As you walk along.

For people
Come and go.

And still more lines
That let you know
Who’s a friend.
And who is not.
Who you can talk with.
And who you should avoid.
What’s age appropriate.
What to say in a group.

Lines for everything.
Each of them a rule.
That guide you
In your walk
Along the sand.

I’ve seen so many others
On this sand.
Since I started walking on it
Oh, so many years ago.

And I’ve always wondered
Why everyone I saw
Was walking precisely
Toward the same point
On the horizon.

That point there.
I’m sure that you can see it.

In my curiosity,
I decided I’d walk that way too.
Just to see
What the heck was there.

I found it funny
As I walked along,
How many people
Talked with me.
So long as I stayed
On the path
That they were on.

It was to me as if
I was staying between the lines
I knew they all could see.
Lines that are invisible
To me.

I learned to walk along.
Keeping pace with everyone.
Walking with them
Toward the spot on the horizon
They were all walking toward.

But as I walked along
With everyone.
I couldn’t help but notice
That all there ever was
Was just more sand.
As far as I could see.

After a time
Walking on the sand,
I ran out of water.
And I learned,
When I did,
That no one would share
Their water
With me.

“There’s plenty of water here
For everyone.
Get your own.”
That’s what they said to me.
That I had to find
Water of my own.
In an ocean of sand
That reached as far as I could see
In all directions.

I had no choice.
I had to find water.
I had to drink.
Or die of thirst.

So I turned
And started walking here and there
To find water.
Any water.
Any where.

And when I did.
Everyone abandoned me.
“You’ve broken all the rules.
Crossed all the lines.
You can’t do that.
If you do,
Our peaceful,
Ordered lives
Will be consumed
By the chaos
That no lines upon the sand,
And no rules,
Would lead to.

I have wandered alone
Across the sea of sand
Since that day.
When I had no choice at all
But to strike out
On my own
To find water
To drink.

It saddens me greatly
When I think of all the people
That I’ve met.
That I’ve known.
Whose path I have crossed.
As I walk along the sand.
On a path
All my own.

It saddens me greatly
To know the truth
Of where they’re going.

There’s no water there.
There’s only sand.
Sand that goes on forever.
That leads
No where.

It saddens me to know
That they see these lines
Upon the sand.
And that they follow them.
That they let these lines
Tell the how to live.
And how to be.
That these lines
Are what make them
Happy.

For I know the truth
About the sand.
I’ve seen it
With my own two eyes.
I’ve touched it
With the fingers
Of my hands.

There are no lines
Upon the sand.
And the path that I see
Everyone
Walking on each day
As I wander my own way
Out here on the sand.

Is a path I know
Leads nowhere.
I know
There’s no water there.

There is only sand.

But in my wanderings,
Every now and then
I come across
A tiny oasis.

A brilliant splash of green.
Surrounded by the sand.
Where I can stay for a few days.
And let my body rest.
Where I can collect
More water for the walk
That I am forever on.
Where I can restock
My supply of nuts and berries.

Before it’s time for me once more
To step back on the sand.
And wander off.
Until I find the next oasis
That I know is there.
Somewhere.

In almost any direction
Other than the one
That lies there
On the horizon.
Where everyone
That sees the lines
Upon the sand
Is walking.

Lines upon the sand
That are invisible
To me.

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