The 13th of June 1949 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana

(found beneath a pile of bullets)

Dear Henry,

Currants, not raisins, now. Understand?

Never been better! And you?

Went swimming in the ocean, felt the big push of something in the water around me, beneath me and above me. Felt absolutely powerless to the power of the sea.

Men drowned around me, and children swam and woman flew. All in the power of the world to which I am completely powerless.

The sun will move without me. The moon will forget my sorry face. Clouds will cover the sky and reveal it to be as beautiful as ever before. All in due time. All in the time it takes for time to take its course.

When I stopped swimming was when I realized that. I can slap at the water all I want, but that doesn’t make the water anything other than the thing it is. You can’t even piss it off, the water. No sir, Henry! The water is what the water is, and that’s all. So’s the world.

So what is life? And what is the gift we all claim to bring to the world? And what is the point of any of that?

Flip onto your back and float. Feel the power of the ocean swell beneath and around and above you. Struggle for the things that matter, things like air and clean cooking. Against the power of the water, the power of the world – Henry, damn! – there is no fight.

The fight is over. The fight has been decided.

The sun will move without us all. The moon will forget all of our faces. All in due time, all in the infinite time that stretches beyond our comprehension, that stretches without us.

In the meantime, I guess, we’ll still keep smacking the water.

Because that’s what it is, Henry, an angry world, and a terrible world, and a world that makes us all so angry and terrible along with it. No use in fighting that, but there is use in fighting each other – at least to try to make each other a little less terrible and angry.

Currents, not raisins.

-Bill

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