We paddle along the stream's edge,
getting our toes wet but
never venturing further.
We peer into the quiet water,
try to discern below the surface,
float makeshift leaf boats
and maybe even dip our fingers in.
We discourse on the quality of the water
and reassure of what lies beyond it,
but we're in no hurry to try
our own uncertain ability to swim.
So when someone else rushes forward,
plunges in without hesitation,
disappearing in one intake of breath,
we're caught off guard, astonished,
left blinking with disbelief
as the ripples spread and resolve against the bank.
It's difficult to comprehend
how liquid can appear so solid and smooth,
as if nothing happened.