The sky seems like a watercolor love story. Blue and crimson dancing in each other's arms, their passion spilling over the horizon in a tangle of violet and tangerine ecstasy. Diana Krall whispers in my ear (Quiet Nights is an amazing accompaniment to a glass of wine lingering on such a porch on such a night as this) and the breeze brings murmurs of rosemary and sweet basil as it passes by. Evening has come, shrouding our neighborhood in her velvet cloak of hush...she stills the pulse, blurs the parameters of the day.
There, beyond the rail, the flash that causes my heart to skip. Memories...
Raised on that Colorado ranch, half of a mountain 9,000 feet above sea level, was a life...apart. Isolation incarnate. No television, no neighbors, three hundred animals and eighty acres and more than my share of loneliness, I fear. This was battled (as often is) by the magic of the literary world -- adventure and fantasy became my addictions of choice. I flew through the heavens on gauzy wings that swept me from the reality of mucking pens and milking goats. (while I am forever grateful for such an upbringing now, what child relishes such things?) Fast forward years and the farm was sold, my mother's health required a lower elevation; Dad had found something suitable...we trekked across the country in a whirlwind of possibility to the level lands of Maryland.
I was terrified.
Society awaited. Cars and teenagers and excitement unleashed. A long journey, exhaustion, and the first night There. A "there" with no horses, no chickens....and no sleep. I wandered the unfamiliar carpeted halls, the rooms dimly lit by streetlights beyond curtained glass - something that stopped me in my tracks in and of itself, total foreign currency.
A glass of water, sipped in a stranger's kitchen filled with ghosts unknown. The silk of my nightgown chilly...air-conditioning, another exotic. And there, standing at the kitchen sink, my gaze was captured by the flickers of light that glimmered in the mist over the pond at the end of the yard. An incandescent dance that swirled beneath the stars.
We had fairies!
What other conclusion was there?? My heart pounding as if to burst from my chest, the glass abandoned on the counter, I stumbled down the stairs to the back door and out into the damp June night. It was magic, that moment. Still, my heart remembers the joy as I chased the lights down the long hill, the grass wet beneath my bare feet, my hair streaming behind me in the thick humid air.
I'd never seen them before. I stayed for hours, catching them to watch them crawl along my fingers and leap into the air again and again, my fascination as if I were four, rather than fourteen. I think I fell in love with the east coast that night. Alone, damp and giggling in the dark of a summer's night as the magic of my dreams invaded my waking world.
Happy summer, my friends.