A friend and I went to Dreher Island, today. We were supposed to be in a video but got side-tracked. I got side-tracked. By the dark beauty of the native deer (how cool they were, with cars passing so near!), the changed textures along the shore, and our shared observations. I take for granted how much I tend to shunt some of my own emotional spectrum, but it’s lovely to hear anyone articulate what I’m on the verge of saying, and with bright enthusiastic laughter. I think my best moment was “punk rock monkeys” which I’d completely taken for granted, ho-hum, until — laughing does no justice to the differences, from contempt to mirth, and health or worse. Hers was the most musical without being birdlike, and compelling without being mean. It’s a lovely, sure thing that bursts into existence and then, without ever fading, stops. Somehow the sound of it makes me appreciate myself or the topic we’re on, more.
More so, to, dreamlike, then run into another person we have a passing acquaintance with, so seemingly at random, out in the woods, was perfectly charming. Tom Hall, looking very dapper and perhaps no more out of place than we did. In the woods at dusk. He wore a lovely wool vest like a proper gentleman, with his perpetually flushed, or candied, cheeks and a boyish grin glowing in the fading light like a will-o-the-wisp or a paper lantern. Hanging in the air over his clothes. I in my dated mohair and cord dress, went bounding over fallen trees toward him, and Betty, looking ageless and timeless, as always, fell into a more productive conversation. Where did they go? Without their permits. The signs seized. Is that the distant sound of a ukulele? and then, Tom, like the white rabbit, remembered some other purpose to which he must attend, and was off, swallowed up by the surrounding foliage. Poof!
Betty and I returned to the water’s edge. I’d worn wellies, so got to wade, carefully, out into the sunset, which reached toward me in bands of neon and fire across the lake’s surface. It was, being so much more immediate than the sky, a little disorienting. I wavered and some water spilled into one of my boots, and she asked if it was cold while I stood, kneedeep beside a limbless trunk, balancing on one leg and dumping that out. “Not too cold for me!” So we both thought for a moment about going for a swim, regardless of the dipping temp., a thing I don’t think I’ve done since I was 14. But the rough terrain I could feel even through my rubber sole convinced me to hold back. Could I have kept my boots on? But hers might have been ruined by that. Also, the moon was out and I am pale, and olive. Even pushing middle age, my skin throws off light, so anyone across the cove — and there had been fishermen about — would have noticed a pallid shape moving through the dark waters. Betty joked about different ways of scaring people, and the very real possibility of getting shot. I agreed. “Most people, when they hunt, they drink.” I lost myself to the sound of my making a way through the shallows, and the tinny frog or cricket somewhere over my shoulder who cried despite how much noise we made. Until it was too dark to stay.
Before leaving, we wandered through the camper grounds. I remember the plastic lights and color schemes of the one from the 70s, but today, they’re covered in tail-gating and buck-master themes. Campfires drowned out everything, scent and sight. So home we went. Good night, good night.