RAFTING IN THE STORM
Floating along on my Huckleberry raft,
Logs lashed together, sapling mast,
Lazing wherever the current takes me
When the barometer rapidly plunges,
And my voyage leaves placid behind.
Sky goes from blue to ashen grey,
Inky clouds obliterate a bright yellow day
And the water darkens from green to opaque,
To the color of dull lead, and its heaviness
Resonates in the pit of my stomach.
No longer gentle, the waters rise
And flume about. High waves crest
Seemingly on every side, crowned white
Like steep cliffs topped with drifted snow,
Bent on avalanche, mayhem and destruction.
My poor craft bounces and bucks
And I cling with whitened fingertips
To one of the logs, wrapping myself
To the mast with a bit of found lashing,
Knowing the mast won’t hold but hoping….
My peaceful sail now an insane carousel,
Rising up and plunging back, and I despair
Of the ride ever ending, the water again
Becoming glassy and tranquil once more
With no brass ring to show for the ordeal.
The twig misnamed a mast bends and snaps,
My lashings, now useless, fall at my feet,
A cascade of water smashes into me, shoving:.
I am pitched over the side, into the dark,
Waves pushing me deeper and deeper.
When panic allows me to think, I note
Something different. Here no waves crash
No waters swirl, no winds scream out my name.
Could it possibly be peaceful, this far down?
But no wondering; to survive I must swim.
I choose to stay under, and I swim and kick.
Forgetting my need for oxygen I propel myself.
“Got to get away, far away from here, fast.”
With all my strength I go, lungs near bursting.
In the quiet deep I orient myself, and move.
Finally the body can take no more. I must rise,
Expecting to meet the tempest, hoping for air,
Ready to gulp and plunge again if I must, if I can,
Knowing that the only peace I have found
Is down in the midst, in the midst of that storm.
Swimming hard under the torrent I had gone,
Faster, longer, further; impelled, impelled, impelled…
I broach the surface, as calm above as it was below,
Clear and smooth, no hint that a storm ever raged.
I find my raft, clamber aboard, and continue my voyage.