Staying afloat...if only by an inch.

The Water Lily

She sits on the surface,

somehow perceiving

 the pull of


on the land

or in the sky; plus other

places distant and


for now.

Taking a peripheral scan

she notices. The view.

Quietly yielding to the present,

 she floats gracefully


in a sigh of peace.

Photo & Poem ©2011-Shawn Bailey

   The quality of transcendence is typically reserved for deity. When ascribed as an attribute, it relays a sense of other-worldliness; a state of being translated into the “unknown beyond”, in a sense. And so it is. Also, the concept has the connotation of being mystical–an aspect reflected in various religions of the world. The original Latin word is translated to mean “being in a state of climbing or going above”.

   It is this looser, more basic idea that I am drawn to–the intriguing possibility that I might be able to live a little (or possibly a lot) higher than the place where circumstances land me. Many times, those circumstances are a result of our poor choices.  Other times. they are not.  Either way, we all wonder how we might live with the straight set of facts. Let’s say my life is not where I want it to be, for whatever reason. Is it inevitable that I am simply stuck here? Maybe.

   Simply put, there are times we have no choice but to stay put.  There is no feasible way of moving out of the circumstance, let alone beyond it. It might be a job loss, or an academic course that needs to be completed, but seems impossibly daunting. It could be a chronic illness or a business project gone awry. During those particularly stressful times, our friends ask, “How are you?”.  Often we respond, “Oh, I am staying above water”.  As if that is a bad thing.

   I want to know. Is there any living above and beyond, even in the worst situations imaginable? How high do I have go in order to survive? Actually, not so far. Maybe an inch or less. There is life anywhere above the water line. That one inch is the difference between life and death. The glorious gift of an inch is grace enough.  I am staying above water and I am, in a crazy sense, elated.

   If I am honest, I can see some pretty amazing things from this level that I might miss on the mountain top. Living above by one mere inch is exponentially better than living below by the same. I gotta say, things are looking pretty good. From here.