Wednesday, March 26, 2008

As a child, my secret burning ambition was to become an underwater archaeologist. I've always been pretty secretive with the things that make me happy, because I'm easily damaged, so I told everyone that I wanted to be a teacher. Or a ballerina. Or, maybe, president. Inside my head, though, I spent years fantasizing about drifting silently along the vast ocean bottom, discovering a gleam of treasure in the sand that would lead to some fantastic forgotten secret. Like panning for gold on a profoundly larger level, I dreamt of trysting in those silent depths with history that I could only barely fathom.

There's a lot down there, in the under the water, cities and forests and old, old boats. Sailors, being a superstitious bunch, rarely learned how to swim, and so they're down there too. It's always snowing at the bottom, a soft fall of organic detritus, but what it's falling on is the larger flakes that have broken off of all these years of civilization. We can't live without the water but we can't live within it, either, and we've paid so much tribute. Chunks of what we are scatter like breadcrumbs, and while it must be nice to discover these trails on the land, in the sun and the noise, it must be an entirely personal event to stumble across those same mementos in the silence and pressure at the bottom of the ocean.

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