Friday, July 20, 2012

Surface People

The Secret Sits 
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. 
-- Robert Frost 

Surface people. Some call them shallow. They follow whoever leads, regardless of where they are led. Round and round – with no concern that their path is taking them nowhere.

I followed, confused that I seemed to be getting nowhere. I felt out of step somehow. I followed and followed and followed, but it never felt comfortable, accurate. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I enjoy this dance? Why couldn’t I find the rhythm?

I couldn’t survive in that vacuum. What happens when one person steps out of the circle? When one person moves towards the Secret?

I did. I moved out of the circle and went toward the Secret because I wanted to know, even if no one else did. I wanted to know why we talked of insignificant things. Why we talked about other people. Why we never discussed ideas and concepts. Why did we not question?

What I found when I moved toward instead of around, was so much more –- pain, sorrow, and angst, but joy, laughter, and peace, as well.

Surface people. They don’t dig. Don’t they want to know what’s underneath? What’s holding them up or pulling them down?

I didn’t just scratch the surface. I dug in like a mole. I didn’t just dig, I excavated. Pushing through rubble and dust and debris and bones. I crawled through sewers. Miles and miles of sewers. All by myself. Until I thought I might never see the light of day again. And yet, when I did come through, it was like Dorothy opening the door into Oz – the light, the color. Amazing, dazzling, inspiring.

I turned back to bring them with me.

Surface people. But they wouldn’t come. They stayed on the surface, and thought I was crazy for excavating. They tried to humor me. They tried to lure me back to the surface. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t, wouldn’t come back to their black and white world.

They turned on me. I was the traitor. The one who abandoned them. They weren’t able to stretch from their rutted circle. One little step, but they couldn’t, wouldn’t.

Where is their longing for depth? Can it possibly be enough to just keep dancing in a ring your whole life long?

I want depth, authenticity, reality. I want to know the Secret.

linking up at Write on Edge


  1. This is breathtakingly brilliant. The digging metaphor is and the term "surface people"...I just love it. Wonderful. :) I tried to pick out one or two of my favorite phrases, but there were too many!

    1. Thank you so much for your generous comments. I find myself often returning to this idea of digging and excavations.

  2. I love the use of the metaphor of the circle and the secret here; it's so a propos to gossip and the other shallow things we worry about. Nicely done.

  3. I love the "excavation" images. So embedded with the need to satisfy that curiosity. Well done!

  4. I love this! It is so true and you've expressed it perfectly. Great job!!!

  5. The excavation metaphor is really strong. Glad you drew so much from the poem!


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