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Calling out loud to the sky and the clouds and the sea

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The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.
I think I can see you.
There's your long, white neck.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.
Now I am falling.
Look up and you'll see me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.
In a moment or two.
I'll be with you.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.
Be ready to catch me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you.

Kate Bush: Snowflake.

*

It all starts here. Here, on dry land. Here, in this place.

Out here, in the first lights of early morning, the land is sharp like light, like pain, carved into little pieces and splinters and thorns. Out here, here is his tiny house. There is silence here. There is a kind of violence in it, a kind of truth. But it's alright. He's used to it and he's not afraid. He needs nothing else. The hours fade into each other, and this is alright too. Maybe he can also fall and fade into that wind, into that tide.

Here, by the seaside, he watches the water. This blue sky, this white sand. So bright. His arms cradle the feeling of a forgotten dream, fading with the ebbing tide. He tries to breathe it in, before it slips away. The dream is cold and heavy, like a stone. Like an ending. Still, he would give anything to catch it and bring it close. Close to him, close to his heart, so he could see it, even if only for a moment.

The wind blows, and he sits here, with his old injuries. He is like an old, lame bird. He doesn't know much of anything these days, but he knows one thing for sure. This, this one thing. He knows the sea, even if he has nothing else. Even if he doesn't know why he is here. So he walks out, he walks to the water. He walks, and he tries to find it, deep inside himself. Maybe there is still a little piece of goodness left somewhere.

He stops. And he looks down at his tired hands. It's cold out here. When he gets up and goes inside, the dream is gone, gone like rain.

*

Once, long ago, he was a child. He was difficult and harsh. He had the rain and the trees and the birds, but nothing else. He was born in the storm. Born alone, stubborn and hard and rough, like the world. Windblown, watching the ships and the trains. Waiting, being there for hours. Hoping that someone would wave back.

And one day, he heard the music. He remembers. He felt it, deep within his breast, in his heart. The sea came along. And he loved it, and it loved him back. He saw the signs, and then the land lead him to the water. Always there, always back there. He had the sea, he had its promise. He had it all.

But then, he lost it. The sea walked away and faded in the night and left him, hurt and afraid and alone. Alone with the wind and the silence. And now, there is nothing. Nothing but all these things that he's been chasing, but never catching up to. All the words. All the loneliness. This pain, this anger. This rage, so big and strong, like fire. They all stay forever, as reminders. They whisper. They bleed, they fall like tears. They hurt, but maybe he is no one without them. Maybe he is no one, after all.

*

People whisper too, and no one comes near. No one comes to see him. The postman might walk past and say good morning, Jack, but then he is on his own again. Out here, there is nothing for him, nothing but the sky and the birds. He lets them in, and only them, because they know what it means to be alone.

But maybe, just maybe, today will be different. Today, he opens the door, and there's a white bird on his step. That's new. But it's real. The bird has a splint and a bandage. It can't fly, but it follows the doctor that lives across the beach, a man that's small and quiet and sharp. He calls the bird Princess, which is ridiculous, but it makes him smile.

The bird is wounded and weak, but still there. A bit like him. But it's not afraid. It looks at him, straight in the eye, and it seems to see him. It seems to know. And it seems to say can i stay here? Maybe it's time to answer. Maybe he can break the silence and shout until his throat is rough and raw. Maybe he can ask, with his heart wide open into the night.

*

The man and the bird come near, and then they come by nearly every day. The man brings him spirits and books and fire. He picks things up and fusses and nags and tenderly scolds him. And he holds a promise, like an armful of feathers. Like a secret that he also understands.

The wind is sharp, and there is a bit of rain in his eyes, but it's alright. He's still here. Here, in spite of everything. In spite of himself. And the world is still loud, but here, here is the storm in the distance. The waves and the wind in his hair, in his arms. Here is a quiet place, warm like a furnace, like that old, familiar sea. Here, the moon is big. Bright and so white, like one of those precious things. Like home.

They huddle under the stars with Princess, and Jack tells him old stories of the sea. To look up to the sky each morning. To touch the arm of a sailor. To follow the patterns of birds' flight. For clear paths. For revelation. For luck. They coil and uncoil the words, in a low voice, like shared dreams. The words are safe here, between them. And the night is soft with feathers that fall and fall and fall. It's like being seen. Like being home.

*

These days, he doesn't go too far out to sea. He doesn't need much. Not anymore. He has something here, something wild and raw and beating and alive inside his heart, deep within, like a secret. It breaks and undoes him and makes him whole again. Even if the cold and the rain try to wash it away, they won't. They can't.

They belong together, he knows. And he needs to tell him.

His hands tremble, but only a little. They are cold and rough but kind. He touches his arm. His hands, his face. He traces these patterns, these maps and pathways. He breathes in the sea and the smoke and the wool. His heart is stubborn and hard and beautiful, shaped by the storm. It feels right, it feels safe. And he holds on, closer. He doesn't let go.

There is nothing in the world but the two of them. Nothing but the blankets and the hope and the white bird. It all makes sense now, and he can sleep. He closes his eyes, and he feels the heart of the sea, deep and wide and blue. He knows nothing, but he knows this. This word, home again, at last. Like a course to follow, he can feel it in the wind. The sea and his heart beat out the same message. The sea will listen. The sea will know. And he sleeps upon this truth, upon this promise.

There's a new star up in the sky, like a mirror. And he wakes up, calling out loud to the sky and the clouds and the sea. He wakes up, and he breathes along with the storm and the world, along with the bird, who knows. He wakes up, chasing dreams like feathers, storm driven from another land. But the dreams are here now. He finds them, right here, by the sea, warm like the wings of the wild bird, tender like the early, early light.