Thursday, June 28, 2012

Notes From the Field -- Sleepin' on the Job...

Camp work done, the heat of the day. Dragonflies by the dozen, working reeds by the water. This is a place where you can sit beneath a cedar tree, cooled by a breeze beside a wilderness lake.

When a dragonfly lights on a page of the book you're reading if you stay very still you can watch it breathe -- abdomen moving in out in out with the pulse of life.

Spot the dragonfly

Then lulled by the sun on the lake tossed by a wind out of the west, words of overriding importance blur to indifference. While you nap birds sing through, calling for companionship or simply happy to be alive and a bird during lush summer days in the Northwoods. Insects buzz about. A bullfrog sings out. Wind in the trees rushes all around -- rising and falling and rising more -- never silent, always changing. The voice of the Earth I suppose, only without a throat to throw it or if there is one, we don't know where that is and hardly remember how to listen.

You doze through it all not exactly asleep but not nearly awake -- hearing, feeling as if in a dream and sufficiently still that a red squirrel figures it's safe to climb the sapling next to you. It drops something with a rustle through springy boughs and that ends in a soft clunk on the forest floor.

You stir and the squirrel is instantly gone. Disappeared up some other, safer tree to noisily scold you for not being dead.

And you wonder, now more or less awake, how it is we came to believe anyone is meant to live other than this.

Off to the west, gauzy mare's tails mark the sky for the coming night's storms, when the ground will shake as if astride by giants, lightning will rend the dark and most birds sensibly lay low.

But not before a thousand fireflies light the reeds and the sheathed sky in turn with the sparkling language of shooting stars and for some things there's never a photograph, though the image remains indelibly forever upon the soul.

Like the following morning when you keep a Cecropia Moth safe until it recovers from the storm, then straight out of your hand it flew flew flew on a freshening breeze right into the shaded deep trees that offer nothing like safety, but at least they're home...

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