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Eric Engel

A beacon through the black

Immersed in the immensity of midnight’s cloak, the captain surfs the great waves of the sea, his stance sturdy on the gyrating vessel underfoot. He stares out into the canvas, his troops steadily awaiting the reassuring bellows of his voice. And suddenly, like a bolt of lightning splicing the silence of sight, a single beam stretches vast and radiant across the floor of the atmosphere, and hope — satisfied with its example of existence, is resurrected through each heart’s onward march.

We are all sailors on this voyage through life. Some of us keep a tightened eye for a red dawn; others enjoy the strawberry streaks of a crimson eve. Some of us are catalysts for our shipmates, understanding the importance of sharply sewn sails. Some work in the innards of the ship, delivering the provisions for the strong minds and muscles necessary to handle the mastodon’s mighty roar. Others are slippery eels or piercing pirates, looting coin and compass from the unity of the crew. Each of these a single drop in the sea of people, and it takes a full pail for the ship to sail.

People have often times accused me of sprinkling depth within my writing, and although it often sounds like and is surely intended to be a compliment, the statements sometimes seem to carry the baggage of irritation or envy over their shoulder, as if it is a fault with a pearl-studded silver lining — like a warm summer rain that cools the flesh at first, but becomes monotonous and loses appeal after the boat starts filling with water.

I believe each sailor dreams the ocean blue. They run their hands of imagination over scales of tangerine and aqua marine, their faces breathing in the spray of the saltwater splatter as whales the size of a house come back down from their leaping grounds to dive low for the ocean floor. Tentacles like fire hoses branch from the octopus as the inhabitants between the isles watch offspring of the ark nose through maps that have no lasting roads.

I write to create foolish conclusions and abstract delusions, demanding only that we rest after standing and continue flight after landing. I want to play a game with your mind, where we go finding all kinds of righteous tools and treats together, my words or any you find of worth your treasure map. Let us scavenge the Bermuda Islands for the pilots of proverbial migration, and station ourselves outside of the elements when fishing for peace and beside each other any time we reside. Let’s fire our cannons simply to see if gravity still has a grasp on a dynamite landing.

If in my words you can find a center within yourself where your levels of calm and composure multiply, where your emotions are bent to their breaking points and brought back together without ever disconnecting, then I feel a great sense of worth and accomplishment. I have taken great strides to improve my craft, so it floats with a maximum number of occupants aboard, and I can only rain down what is inside the cloud after it sucks up everything deemed worthy from the surroundings below.

I will always be a sailor with many hands on board, but I also want to be a son of the sea, and partake in the sheets of sideways rain as they riptide into the side of my boat. For if I float with utmost tranquility before and after each storm, then I can only accept that it’s wise to learn how to during those proverbial storms. If I can be an example of exaggerated imagination and grounded contemplation, then let me stand like the lighthouse towers above the rocks, like a beacon when you have lost your way, advising of the routes that make sense to me, that they may help you navigate your seven seas.

Beams are breaking through the evening sky, for lost is the night when eyes lock on the light. I see these beams erupting from you, stretching as far as the length is from center ocean to view, and am honored when you see them emitting from me. Now let us set our sails to sea; the lighthouses will stand their ground.

Eric Engel, formerly of Tiskilwa but now of Peoria, can be reached by e-mail at eazywritin84@yahoo.com.