May 13, 2009
The sounds of darkness draw me from the porch toward edge of the woods. A myriad of voices hold me to that spot for mere moments, and I plunge in.
Walking in the forest at this hour holds fear, assurance, calmness, and apprehension with equal fervor. Promises of discovery and adventure lay just within my grasp, yet sadly move away seconds before I can reach them. Creating within me the usual longing for a childhood long since past when the bridge between myself and adventure was one I could cross with relative ease and little thought. To experience the complete joy brought about by an evening of hide and seek with the passion born of that age once more would truly be as close to God as I could hope to get. The only way one can surely begin to feel this wonder again is to see it in the eyes of a child caught within its spell.
These thoughts carry me forward as I traverse paths taken so often that little thought needs to be given to direction or footing. Years of moving through undergrowth with the need of stealth has brought about a natural ability to move in complete silence. Rich aromas of honeysuckle and wet earth tell me my exact location, as I look ahead toward my destination.
Finding this spot is done with as sure a familiarity as a mother's ability to recognize the call of her own child. I dare not glance before me in fear of ruination of the evenings reason for being here.
The spot is bare, dry, and ready to join me in a symphony of past and present.
Before taking my seat I stand and breathe deeply of the aroma that is home... eyes closed, mind fixed, and soul just right... It is time. I sit with my back to an oak tree that has seen more than I can hope to witness in many lifetimes. I take one last deep taste of the nights humid air and open my eyes as the flavors of this hollow swill around my senses and release images of lives past and present.
I look down from the edge of the hollow into the creeks flowing side by side until they join and flow through the hardwoods to fill the lake just beyond the distant hill. My personal amphitheater is now alive with thousands of fireflies dancing from the base of the trees; swimming effortlessly to the tops that are only a few feet from my vantage point. In a stunning silence they light the very ground of this hollow as they dance in lives never touched or holding any concern for me or my fellow men. No performance ever conceived by a human can come close to the beauty displayed in front of me... I am honored and awestruck to be its only witness.
The journey starts as my mind finds a peace that I left here as a child and the welcomed images come. There is no order to this waltz, it happens all at once. Everything is simultaneous, imagery from lives gone and lives newly arrived wash over me. I hear the voices of my grandparents calling to everyone, the laughter of my father, the weeping of my mother over his loss, the catcalls of my peers at play, the cries and joy of my children in full throws of discovery, and the music of my youth wrapped in the din of my siblings hearts as they work a magic that can be known only within a family.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, and people loved for years shift before me in a dance with the yellow lights I watch. I smell and taste a small kitchen full of family during the holidays, the tears for the arrival of my sons, and experience the love of my wife anew... I feel that those who went before me now hold a secret knowledge that they know I will share in time, and their patience is palpable to me.
The sounds of laughter and joy during times of great happiness in my life are as sure and new as the moments they first occurred.. The poetry, eroticism, love, and passion for life from every moment of each night I have lived is alive at one moment in time... This surely is what magic is made of...
The time I spend there is never measured yet lasts eons in my soul. Many lives are witnessed and many battles thought through. Situations are lost and honesty fills the spaces that dwell within me, pushing out the demons that have moved in during the day. Serenity arrives, a long remembered companion, welcomed as surely as it was a cousin coming to let me know all is well with him.
A sly smile creeps across my face as the owls arrive with cries and calls letting me know I have been here long enough and am needed elsewhere. I listen to their calls mixing with the rhythmic patterns now rising from the lake as frogs and crickets wake to begin their lives over again in the new night around them. I almost feel guilty that most people don't get to experience a dance such as this... But then the peace I feel and surety I have gained again with this renewal remind me that this place and these moments are my own...