In the afternoon the light is loud, which gives everything else permission. The wind teases the surface, and the lake plunks at its touch, or laughs. The cattails and bullrushes bump their slim shoulders, shivering despite the heat. Fish leap from the water and bellyflop back. Dragonflies flit. Spiders spin. Always there is a boy of about ten unafraid of splinters racing down a wooden dock and catapulting himself through the light into the kind of dark he will be afraid of at night, but not now. Not under the hands of such a sun. Not when there is so much cheering.
In the evening I believe I'm in a world more luminous, more tender, than I have ever known, and I memorize how the light sifts through the day's sieve. I smell the earth and water cooling. And I listen to the crows and crickets and toads and turtles and loons and yellow perch as they find somewhere or someone they love and begin to sing. That is when the sun slides from shine to glow, from yellow to red, from preening to blush. It is like watching someone beautiful undress.
And at night—all light gone except for the far-away gifts of stars and moon—the lake sighs, and is quiet. And everything I recognized before turns into something else, something I will never understand and do not need to. If I breathe, I float.
-- Published in Orion's January/February 2011 issue