What Resists

Instruments for fluid forms.

watercolor pallet beside a jar with paint brushes soaked in water

When the source of the moment is the vessel and not the stream, and the tool at hand is a knife and not a cup, it’s so difficult to harvest anything. All I wanted was a coherent paragraph, some excerpt to offer a guest. But I’m all vessel today, and have perhaps absorbed too much, and attempts to slice water are studies in futility. 

I will say this, though. It is frustrating insofar as I continue trying to cut anything. Abandoning this, the continued movement of the knife becomes a way to trace the resistance of fluid. My cutting impulse begins to still, and what replaces it is something else. Whatever it is, it won’t be named. 

I think of the wonder on an infant’s face when she first discovers the resistance of the surface of water. The slapping and splashing that follows, cooing between laughs. Over and again, she brings it down to feel what pushes back, as the echo of her laugh reverberates into any nearby vessel, shaking all that is barely held, now spilling again.  

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

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