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  • Shana Ritter

Swimming in the Confluence


It's been over a month since I last posted. Like everyone I know I am factoring time in a different way. It's like the formula for specific gravity, Another equation I could never understand. A dimensionless measure that contrasts the density of water to the density of another substance at some particular temperature. The problem is we don't know what the other substance is and the temperature keeps shifting.

There are so many unknown variables. None of us, at least in my lifetime, have experienced this confluence of circumstances before; a pandemic, a heightened recognition of systemic racism, a leader obsessed with appearance over substance and a conflation of science and individualism. All simultaneous with unprecedented access to information without discernment.

The current metaphor for my days is that most of the time I feel like I am boogie boarding the weather is far from perfect, but the waves are good. I am catching most of them just right when unexpectedly I get hit upside the head. Under I go. Usually, I come right back up promising myself I’ll pay more attention. Other times it takes a bit to surface, I break the water sputtering, having swallowed a mouthful of infinite sea. The it takes a bit to get my bearings.

One thing that helps is walking the land I live on. I am lucky to live in a quiet place surrounded by trees, holding a pond and enough sky that I. can watch the clouds form and reform and the light change as the day moves through what I used to think of as hours. It measures things in a different way to note how the sounds change, the colors of leaves and grasses, the depth of the pond, the different wildflowers.

This is not the first time the world has found itself both adrift and in turmoil, but it may be the first time we know so much about what is happening without really knowing much at all. I am scribbling phrases without composing pieces, I am reading and reading and remembering phrases. I am trying to hear the ocean, so far from this landlocked place, so I can remember that constancy of sound, and how it is always changing.

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