(Joining with Amber Haines (who I am THRILLED to have back on the interweb) as she poses writing challenges ‘abstractions of the concrete’.
My son found a snake on the road this summer. It had been crushed by a car. For all his scales, it still didn’t make him invincible. Turns out scales are not armor. Snakes too can bleed.
We find them sometimes. Once strong, protective skin reduced to a moulted crumbling shell. Even the thickened skin can rarely protect completely, much to our dismay. When the bellies rub in the dirt, sneak around the underbrush, hide amongst the thistles and cacti one has to toughen up a bit. Sometimes even Purest Light feels like it is burning pale pink skin.
Life is sharp isn’t it? We find ourselves gauged and prodded, trapped in boxes too small. We think the only way to stay safe is to batten down the hatches. Call upon every defense.
And then don’t you feel it? When your mouth turns to mock? When your brain jumps to the bad report? When your jokes choose the lowest common denominator? Saliva turns to venom and fangs poke through. We bite our brothers and sisters and melt their bones with our tongues of death.
Don’t you feel that skin thicken? The very cells elongate, turn into designs that look like diamonds on our backs, a place to carry our heavy loads. I join the serpent in the grass, slithering and whispering lies seeking to glorify this moulting flesh.
But it cracks. We wiggle out, we feel vulnerable and sometimes we hide but the only way to grow is to shake off that out-of-size skin.
This morning I tried to open my eyes but the night felt like scales. HE shook them off, I looked at the world fresh and new. This spirit sees things the slithering can’t. I stepped into the winter sun, turned my face upward, noticed the light not the heat. I’ll keep my pale pink skin, the burns I feel sometimes. Turns out, there is more for me than what a thick skin can produce. Turns out I want more for you than creating a puddle at my feet. Turns out…I want more from this life than rotten apples and safety.
Melissa, I love this metaphor.
Some of the concrete words you use here are snake, car, scales, bellies, underbrush, dirt, bones, thistles, cacti, fangs. These are incredible powerful.
Thanks Amber. I fought this one a little…didn’t come easy for some reason. Love what you do.
Melissa, girl this is jammed packed with gut-punch strength and beauty. You created amazingly tender prose here. Thank you for taking this where you did…it speaks to me today, taking the truths and sweetly sliding them across my gaze so I can see, truly see. You open my eyes.
Oh Elizabeth…if there was a prize for poetry in comments you would win. Always so beautiful and generous!
Melissa, this hits at the core. So good on so many levels. Your heart and gritty words pounding hard. Something about the line, “I’ll keep my pale pink skin” makes me want to flat out weap today. Thank you for the good ways you shook me up.
Thanks for visiting Ashley! Enjoyed your thoughts too!
Hi dear Melissa
I am so glad I found your blog at Amber’s. Your post is so thoughtful and mysterious. Thank you for many things to think about!! I have taken notice.
Much love XX
Thanks Mia! Appreciate that very much~
That “the only way to grow is to shake off that out-of-size skin…” So much here to take with me this week! Thank you for sharing your words, heart, talent.
Wow thanks for the encouraging comment and for spending your precious time here!