Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

August 10, 2004

The Dream of the Black Dragon

During the night, when everyone’s asleep, the sea comes rippling along our quiet streets, pouring into basements, rising around swing-sets and SUVs, lapping at the eaves of porches. I wake up, as usual, and wading to the window, see what I always see: my father’s sloop, the Black Dragon, her sails glowing like cream in the moonlight, her black hull shining like polished coal, coming sharply about. There you are at the tiller, Father, guiding her in close to the house, gesturing with your broad open palm for me to come aboard. And now the rocking deck of the Dragon is directly before me, gliding past. “Heartily,” you say. “The time is short.” And there’s your hand stretched out now, reaching, and I know I must take hold before a spectral wind carries you off again, as every time before, but I’m afraid, and timidly I shrink back, and all at once you’re sailing off among rooftops and treetops, heading for open water, shouting that you’ll come again, when the tide is in, and the wind is right.


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