An afternoon breeze. The tidal water retreats––mudflats gleam and pucker, boulders hunker against a tumbled cloud-sky. And now the gulls come, claim the rocks with their unmelodious shrieks. Single-minded, they wait. Her own days are ambitious, her dreams troubled. And her chores––hanging laundry, splitting wood––don’t ever feel conclusive.
In the rain, the garden closes in on itself. Paths turn slippery, foliage deepens. Without a god to assign them, blessings move freely––an elusive flutter, a borderless place. She swims into the bay’s cold expanse. Her daughter arrives, carries her luggage up the wooden stairs, the home’s musical scales. A blessing may feel smooth like the stone-grey water.
Today, broken clouds skim the earth, granting a partial view at what lies beyond. Her daughter’s body bulges lightly over the belly-baby. For mammals it’s normal, of course, but still a shock, this first showing. Rain has swelled the streams. A waterfall––in the heat, they clamber on mossy boulders and dowse themselves. Attendere––to stretch like dancers, to attend toward light-filled canopies.
Last night there was music––live in the rain, a wooden stage, raised among the trees’ dripping green. A bonfire illumined dancers, their hands rising like sparks, their feet molding wet clay. Among microphones, monitors, pitch and motion, sometimes the players’ faces would lose themselves, the drums keep the beat on their own.
When she stores the garden tools, last sunlight seeps into the forest. She takes a moment to smooth her forehead, realign joints––blessings need sustenance. Her daughter will soon be parting, leaving behind a more vibrant house––watercolor tints, night vision’s larger range. Is she afraid of the obvious? The self disperses after death. Walking, she feels for moss, for roots under foot––the obvious, from ob viam: on the way.
Three Nations Anthology, Resolute Bear Press 2017, edited by Valerie Lawson (print and ebook).