When the boat begins to sink, it’s not real obvious.  Water pools at your feet, but this can be justified.  You are on some large body of water, so it wouldn’t be unusual for some to get into the boat.  Maybe the oars splashed a bit, or when you brought your hand back from lazily dragging along in the wake, you also brought in some water.  Maybe the shoes you are wearing soaked up some on the dock and squished out when you stepped into the boat.  Regardless, a little water on the bottom of the boat is not typically cause for alarm.

But then the water becomes harder to ignore and if your feet had been dry, they are now becoming uncomfortably wet.  Perhaps you kick off your shoes or try to prop your feet up on some unencumbered edge.  At some point, you will begin to try to get the water out of the boat and back into the lake or ocean, river or stream.  At some point, you will begin to calculate the distance to shore and quickly scan to see what needs to be purposefully salvaged.  At some point you will acknowledge that the boat is, indeed, sinking.

In the end, you survive.  Maybe the boat does, too.  You find yourself back on dry land and you assess the damage.  You have no choice but to learn from the disaster, especially if you plan to go back out into the open waters.  Of course, you can opt to stay on terra firma from here on out, but you will have to reimagine what that kind of life would look like…


5 thoughts on “Reimagining

  1. I am transfixed by this post. I notice how you begin with the boat already sinking (and the rhythm of that first sentence is perfect) – and how quickly it becomes a metaphorical sinking through “maybe” and “perhaps” and “at some point” until even the body of water is in question – but still the boat is sinking. And then the choices narrow. In fact, “you have no choice” unless you are willing “to reimagine what that kind of life would look like.” My goodness but I love this post. Wow.

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  2. I’m following the description and weighing the metaphor; delighting in the casual illustration of disaster while fervently scanning my own state for direct relevance. Amyilene, this piece stands out for me because the storytelling is artful and the subtext, which can be taken in many directions, is virtually irresistible. Thank you for such a compelling slice!

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  3. The voice of this post combined with the metaphor and vivid descriptions drew me right in. You compelled me to think deeply about moments in my life where the “water in the bottom of the boat” applies.

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  4. I agree–this is the perfect metaphor for how it feels to become gradually (and then not so gradually) overwhelmed. Those moments of making excuses and willfully ignoring signs of trouble–so relatable!

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  5. I’m imagining this as a metaphor for teaching, and it’s so powerful. I’m thinking a lot about that beginning, with the water pooling at your feet that can be explained away, and how we see that so often in our teaching lives…..and then the end, where you survive, but maybe the boat doesn’t, and you have to either figure out learning from the disaster or reimagining life on land. Both hard to picture. –but beautiful to read and think about.

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