Light on Bark

Crunch, scrunch, scrunch. It’s a pretty good sound, feet making their way through the snow. And if you happen to be on a solitary walk, its equally nice to stop crunching periodically and let the silence wow you.  Which is what I was doing yesterday at about 3:45 when I saw it.

I didn’t have my camera with me, and even if I had, I never can squish everything I perceive into an image so that when you see it, it blows you away too.  My husband can; he can take such a close-up of a grasshopper, that you peer into its eyes and try to read its thoughts. He also tosses around words like ‘aperture’, which I had to look up just now in order to spell it correctly.

I stood still, then turned to my left to face the woods. Now, right here; this might be the first clue. Something made me turn. I think it was beauty. There I said it. There was no reason to turn, when the quiet would be just as stunning to the North, as to the East.

I use the word clue, because I’m talking about a mystery, which is: What’s the deal with indescribable moments? I have them, more all the time. Don’t you? Moments waiting in a long line of every-day sort of moments, inching ever closer and then they happen and I gasp, usually. And then I want more than anything to share them with another human being.

My instinct is to get someone else inside this thing with me. I suspect the right combination of words, the appropriate aperture, the spot-on hue of pigment will zap the viewer into my view.  

I blame, and sometimes thank, my Mom for making me the sensitive boob I am today. She filled my young heart with poetry, reading us poems at bedtime, reciting many (The Song of Hiawatha, Casabianca) by heart.  Mom wasn’t satisfied ‘til our little hearts welled with feeling, perfectly healthy hearts shot through with verse.

But what am I to do when Beauty calls me? I can’t hunt with the likes of Longfellow or Hemans. I’m just an average work-a-day human with a slingshot’s worth of utterances. It’s frustrating. I’m concerned that it may be pointless, as well.

At a house party recently, my friends daughter had a minor meltdown. The child who had been playing happily with another a moment ago, had now returned to the mother ship, distraught, crying. 

“Use your words,” my fellow New Year’s Day party goer said to her 3-year-old daughter.

Whoah, you said a mouthful there, sister, I said to myself.

With lower lip protruding and tears coursing down her cheeks, the little girl looked at her mother and arranged her cherubic features to convey the words she didn’t yet have.  I saw the whole thing, and I think she was saying something like:

“We were so happy!  Now he is blowing up the purple balloon with the neat blue pump and I wanted to do that.  It’s all over. I’m heartbroken and I will never be happy again.”

The sun was setting over Boyden Lake. I was standing in the snow and as I looked to the left, the last rays of the sun brushed over the tops of the trees and every pine needle was outlined in amber and the birch bark turned to gold. And I’ll never be able to tell you how happy it made me.

Originally posted in February 2016.

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