January 1, 2013

The plank considered itself blessed to be the topmost plank on the pile of planks in the hold of the ship. Its constant yapping about its mountain origins and its trip through the sawmill and the long bumpy ride on the wagon before being swung aboard by some kind of pulley contraption was, to put it mildly, an annoyance to the rest of the lumber. The plank didn’t notice. Truth, it was excited to be on a great adventure. It speculated aloud and on and on about where they were going and what would become of them.

“I can see myself as part of a wall, that I certainly can,” it said. “Maybe in a parlor, where there would be a piano and music. That would be good. But of course on the one hand I don’t wish to limit myself, and on the other I dare not try to venture too far above my station. So saying, I wouldn’t mind at all being a part of a sidewalk in, say, Nome, Alaska. Perhaps just outside the swinging doors of a saloon. A lot of topsy-turvy chaos there, I can bet. You know, even taking part in the floor of a cabin would be satisfactory to me. I wouldn’t like to be covered by a rug, though. That would never do.”

The plank rattled on. It was a wonder to hear. The other planks were appalled, and yet at the same time amazed, at the plank’s endless imaginings. And so it happened that a kind of bliss settled over the lumber pile after a square shaft of light opened above, two men descended, fetched the plank, carried it up and away, and the shaft of light thinned to darkness.

The plank remained speechless with a strange combination of fear and anticipation when it found itself shoved out over the side of the ship and hanging above the sea. It heard muttering and many drawn out pronunciations of the letter ‘r’. Boots walked along its length. There was a splash below and more and louder pronunciations of the letter ‘r’. Then the plank itself was tossed into the sea. It wondered if it would wash up on a desert island and make part of a shelter. It certainly hoped so.


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