birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Water Surrounds Me

It’s a gloomy day. The rain is coming down hard. The windshield wipers are trying to keep up but are almost losing the battle. The road is winding, on either side is water. I begin to slow the car.

Fear begins to grip me. My heart begins to race. Breathe in, breathe out…slowly.

Around the bend a straight away appears. The road is covered with water. My breathing becomes labored. Slowly the car approaches the water, should I plow through or backup. Ever so faintly I see the dotted line, the car inches forward. Suddenly the lines are gone and water is all around me. The road has disappeared. I can’t breathe, help me oh my God please help me….


The car is on a ferry! I’m no longer an adult, but a child looking over the side. The water is crystal clear, the rocky bottom seems oh so close. I am dropping grapes into the water watching them hit the bottom. I wonder if I fall overboard will anyone see me and save me.


Crashing waves! The noise is deafening.

The winds off the lake are pushing the water towards the house, the dune grass is gone, the fence has disappeared. The backyard is being swallowed whole. Any moment now the house is going to fall. I’m not in the water yet but I feel as if I’m drowning. My body is frozen, I cannot move. My brain is screaming get up, save the children, save your husband. Wake up! I can’t. Wake up!


Sitting up with a start, I try to catch my breath. Taking in my surroundings, I look out the window. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the lake is calm. My breathing slows. I smile. What a beautiful day to live on the lake.

All Grown Up

Slippery Slope