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.