Life

In a clear running stream one pebble slips against another and a third falls across them. The new eddy traps one of those fine grits which the water sometimes carries. After  time, a stain of sand is found between the pebbles. And there was silt.

And a seed lodged against a tiny ripple in the silt. It was trapped, unable to be lifted free by the eddies around the pebbles.  As the root grew and wormed down into the silt, and held fast, a shoot began to grow in the river and raise its head above the water. A small twig jammed between the shoot and the pebble, and the silt began fall more often. And there was an island.

The water was heaped and packed and salted in the cells of a little tree, as it grew above the water. The tree, and slime, and bugs, and other watery things glued the island together, even as the water dissolved other parts of the island.

Then the Something that made the water gather into a tree began to slow. And the tree died.  The water seeped from the tree, leaving only a shell. The sand grains chipped away at the shell. Other slimes invaded the shell, bacteria ate at the slime, and layers sloughed way away. And the island died.

One day a pebble slides from its rest across two others. But the water continues to run.

Andrew Prior


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