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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


While I visited the ocean many times as child, only as an adult did I travel to a private island where I could sit quietly and observe the waves on a secluded East Coast beach. Without the white noise of families and children playing, I focused on the sight of the waves rolling in, their movement from offshore to onshore, their sideways rolling down the beach.

And the sound! A soft rhythmic roar, as measured and regular as a breath, the inhalation and exhalation of air. I found myself breathing to its rhythm, the swell of incoming air, a moment of held tension, then the measured release of the breath, like a sigh, the breath of the world.

The sound! A swishing of liquid energy, steady as a beating pulse. I imagine this could be the sound heard within the mother's womb, the sound of the mother's blood flowing, the sound of her pumping heart.
The sound is relaxing, soothing, comforting.

Occasionally the raccous call of a Laughing Gull (Ha! Ha! Ha!) interrupts the rhythmic shushing, but the constant rolling of the waves persists. The cadence of breath, the shushing of maternal blood.
I think, I am sitting here at the edge of the womb of the earth.

I've dreamed before of this edge, where the water of the ocean meets the earth's shore. At this edge, in my dream, grew a riot of living things, plant-animal figures that writhed with life, with energy, with color. And I thought This edge is the source of all creativity. This edge where two energies meet is where new things are born.

Lost & Found

Advice Not Taken