All about us is an open field. We conduct and interact and work and go and be in it. Moving about like ants over the openness without much awareness of the scope of our travels. Back and forth to this place with these people. Back and forth to that place with those people. Again and again. New faces mixing in and old ones leaving sometimes.
Within this open field, for as long as I can remember, are muted lines like tributaries, like capillaries, criss-crossing the space. We can see them. They make a geometric pattern on the ground, a constellation. But these lines are filled with sand, and with all the steps over them muting their edges, and all the weight rolling over them compacting their strength, their presence is less obvious and rarely cumbersome. We think about them sometimes, but mostly we don’t. We travel freely over them, alongside them, without any fear of their giving way.
Now is a new playing field. Deep under the ground a shift has taken place. A low and subtle shake moved one plate, and another, and another, till the full spaces became empty spaces and the empty spaces became trenches and the trenches became wider. And our crossings and goings became more dangerous and sometimes just impossible. The sand that filled up those seams now drained, the sieve no longer blocked by norms. Our movements are affected. We try to go and move as before, and we are slowed; we are tripped and scuffed; we are separate.
I look across the widening, roiling trenches and see faces of those people over there. I cannot reach them; they cannot reach me. I look around my own island, the clipped edges jutting out severely. I see faces of these people over here. I must hold tight to them. We must keep our balance together, distribute the discomfort among ourselves and make of this our new tribe. We turn in.
Who can calm the heaving plates recoiling? Who can smooth the earth’s jagged joinings? Who can settle those trembling atop them? Who can refashion a foundation to stop the sifting? Who can pour in the new sand? Who will shake the ground to make it fill in all the pockets and tamp it down? Who will test the new ground with their foot?