In the back of the picnic shelter on Saturday, I listened to poets, some sad and anxious, some shy and gifted.
It was chill so I put on my sweater. I wanted to write my thoughts but I was there to listen. Passersby sometimes made so much noise I couldn’t hear. A man carried a boom box at full volume. A gaggle of motorcycles squawked by. Children screamed as they chased bubbles that carried rainbows on the thinnest of shells, so like the words being spoken into air. Ephemeral skies caught in the sun.
And from nowhere, it seemed, I smelled a lake.
Where was a lake near here? What breeze could carry that smell into town, the one you found when you swam in the lake and you floated for a moment with your nose just above the water?
It was always such a private moment, when you stopped splashing, you in that inch above the water, breathing, where your vision cleared, and your nose told you myriad things of creatures too small to see. It was you in your natural environment, you being you, realizing your bones floated with the slightest movement from your paddle feet. You felt a fish kiss your elbow and saw his silver shyly dart away. You knew you could have once been an otter or bigger yet, a whale, so free in its wide water. You watched your pruney fingers, pale fish fluttering in front of you.
You were there, in this underwater picnic shelter, dark green depths of lake beneath your feet, overhanging trees and sky beyond, listening to a murmuring voice. She spoke light and shadow. You looked beyond her at drops of translucent children, sparkling in the sun, dancing to be rainbows, splashing joy.
You were there, breathing deeply the water of her poem, finding your own way home.
Thank you for listening, jules