I had no desire to displace a microcosm.
With slight movement of fingers curved to grasp I plucked a rock from the ocean's tide and dropped it in a gaping bottle. Three-hundred millimetres of seaside snatched from leagues and leagues of coastline is hardly a crime. I only meant to document the satin edge of a sanded pebble, to represent the glimmer of sunlight on a patch of slime.
Back at my kitchen table, with clash and clatter a universe in miniature poured from my water bottle to a plate sitting in the evening sun. It made no stirrings when I carried it up the hill, when I slung it among the books, pens and leftover hummus in my backpack. But now oh now it is no static stone.
It is occupied by clusters of gaping barnacles opening and shutting perilous mouths. Its surface breaths in and out and pulls and tugs at the train of seaweed trailing over jumbled horizons.
It sits in seawater teeming with translucent beings. They dart from shadow to shadow to spark of light chasing who knows what to who knows where.
I do not know where they go nor what I have done, moving this thing that looked so dead in the afternoon sun.
But move them I did and now I face the music. I chase after bits of light and patches of shadow with my pencils and brushes, I rub at graphite with my finger, scribbling scrawling shapes, dancing along precarious lines.
But how can pigment grasp the sheen of seaweed bathed in water? How can a stick of graphite snatch the movement of a barnacle's smile? How can any number of scribbles clutch an infinitude of sand?