Deep Lake

In the morning the lake is dappled, full of sleepy light clinging to reeds and hiding among lily pads. I peer down and there are ten-thousand kingdoms: one is full of long arms twirling toward the water's top, another strains its fingers in ruler-straight lines, and an underwater cloud of mossy tendrils breathes as one, grows as one, should not be disturbed by a paddle. There are whole regions of shadow; down there it is cold and dark and deep.
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 nightall light gone except for the far-away gifts of stars and moonthe 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


  1. Great imagery. Well done. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  2. Emily, beautiful the way you love this lake, this place...So many places your words make, to stop and sigh and squint and look more fully, to breathe and to hold in the hope that you can keep what is so dear...somewhere in you, somewhere with you. Thanks for visiting my blog today, Emily :-)

  3. Thank you, Kathryn. What a beautiful compliment. I do love this lake. So many special memories there.


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