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Thursday, April 26, 2007


the little piece of driftwood

by Lydia Henderson

a piece of driftwood is tugged along by the current. water wears it thin and soggy. rocks scrape its belly. the sun warms it through gaps in the clouds. sandy banks open their arms for it to rest. but the current always calls it back to drift.
the driftwood lets go of the sandy banks. it drifts and drifts. the banks are turning to stone and rigid glass. the water dumps into the mouth of the ocean. the driftwood ducks under the surface, wishing for the arms of the sandy banks that are so far away. the ocean is a lonely and solitary place.
one day, just as the little piece of driftwood was losing hope, it heard the sound of a small boat's sails flapping in the wind. suddenly the piece of driftwood was plucked from the sea by the most delicate of fingers. the color of her skin was just as soft and pale as the color of the warm sandy banks and her eyes were dark and wet, just as the ocean had been on moonless nights. she turned the piece of driftwood over, running fingertips over the cracks and imperfections. instead of tossing it aside, she placed it on the floor of the boat. just as the sun was reaching the peak of the sky, the little boat and the piece of driftwood pulled into port. the girl tied the boat off and disappeared. not much longer she returned with a small can of ocean-blue paint and a small bundle of thin rope. with a brush she began to paint on the piece of driftwood. she tied the rope to it as well, so that it could hang from the dock. "home.." she read aloud with tears welling up in her eyes. "one day i may come home." she touched the sign and smiled lightly, climbing into the boat again. the piece of driftwood gazed at the boat as it got smaller and smaller. maybe one day she'd come home.
every day and all through the night the little piece of driftwood gazed at the sea, watching for the little boat to return. sometimes the sea splashed up on the driftwood, or the wind would toss it about. if there was ever a time the driftwood thought it could no longer hang on, something or someone would come along to hold it up. sometimes the sun would come out and say, "don't cry. i'll dry up your rope so that it becomes strong again. i'll always shine down my warm rays upon you." other times a pair of fish would poke their heads out of the water and say, "we'll protect you of the tide, little driftwood. you'll never be a burden." all of these things brought hope to the little piece of driftwood. but with time the cracks in the driftwood seemed to deepen and it began to split.
the little piece of driftwood had grown even more fragile and brittle than it had been before. when it was splashed by the ocean it wished to turn into sea foam. when the wind shook it against the dock it hoped to plunge to the water below. the little piece of driftwood cried out for the little sailboat, unable to keep silent any longer. the ocean calmed. the world grew quiet. it felt as though time itself was coming to a halt. all of a sudden the wind came drifting past the little piece of driftwood and whispered, "patience says the little sailboat." and with that the breeze swept across the weary little piece of driftwood, kissing the wounds and somehow brought strength back to its heart.

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