A Call to Speak, Left by a Podium Facing the River: Day Twenty

This post is part of the Secret Messages Project.  Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all.  I hope you’ll join me. 


There’s a place in Salem where the trees lean out over the river, casting crisscrossed shadows that sway on the shallow bottom.

I like it here because it’s beautiful, and because it’s quiet.  But also because the trees — even when they’re silent — always seem like they have something to say.

(Anything that casts a shadow like that has substance — that much I know is true.)

But I also like it here because just off the nearby Greenway there’s a podium.  Eventually it’ll probably be an information station of some kind — maybe they’ll put a plaque here explaining the history of the river, or maybe they’ll add a map.

For now, though, the podium just looks like a podium — a place to speak into the quiet of the trees…

And that speaks to me.



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be silent, when you have something to say.

What it means to stand still casting shadows, all without making a sound.

And it’s true that shadows can be beautiful — that they can suggest the form of something even when the detail is hidden.  Maybe you read these words here and you sense the shadow of what I want to say but can’t.

Maybe, for now, that could be beautiful.




I was thinking about all this, and so I wanted to leave a message in this place that served as a call to speak — to break the silence, which, in my own way, is what I’m trying to do here.

So on Sunday I collected a series of small pink and white pebbles, and I wrote a little handful of words on them — words I hoped would help you open your mouth once and for all:


But instead of leaving the stones laid out in order across the podium, as I usually would, I jumbled them up and dropped them in a tiny glass jar.  Then I left the jar at the base of the podium.

Because if we’re going to speak, sometimes we have to sort out the words ourselves —


In the meantime, while we’re sorting, let’s all cast what shadows we can.

Let’s lay them all down in an angle — beckoning, in the most beautiful leading lines…


Oh, Friend.  You and I have so much to say…

Perhaps we can say it together.







  1. I love your shadow photos, just for starters ❤

    When I feel someone hurting, someone a million miles away, I want to say something so badly, and I usually do because silence could even mean I don't care. However, strings of words can be such trouble-makers, not least of all because the recipients have their own agendas too.
    Frames of view are very limiting, but silence for me is deathly; silence has sent me into hiding behind my own silence too often, hiding from the fear of having hurt someone and not being able to say I am sorry.

    I love the way you are speaking out though! It is good to imagine the smiles on people's faces. Strangers connecting in space. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. 🙂 Sometimes it takes a lot of silence to know what to say, & when to say it, & how. There’s beauty in that part of the process, I think — the waiting and gathering — even if it’s sometimes hard. And there’s beauty when that stage passes and we’re finally able to say what we need to say. In the meantime, I hope I cast gentle shadows in my quiet… Make beauty and invitation out of whatever I say and whatever I don’t. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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