Friday, July 6, 2007

She is most herself in the summertime

I stealthily sneak past my parent's bedroom, down the hall and into the family room where I switch on a lamp in one corner and cross to the other to the patio door. I deftly and quietly unlatch it, casting a glance over my shoulder to ensure I'm alone. I cautiously step down onto the patio and a leaf crunches under my bare foot. I'm always paranoid, as I cross the threshold, that I'll feel the loathsome silk of a spider web against my bare skin as arachnids possess a certain affinity for building across doorframes; you'd think they'd cotton on after having them ruined so often and build their fragile homes on better real estate. However, tonight I am met only by the balmy night air which varies from my own body temperature by a degree or two. I ease the door shut behind me and turn to our old set of patio furniture we've owned since I can remember. I settle into a chair whose chrome and plastic thatching belie the comfort it affords.
I light a clove cigarette - a vice I rarely indulge in but nevertheless relish - close my eyes and lean my head back as I exhale. I open my eyes and they alight on the stars, my old and eternal friends. The Big Dipper, suspended high above seems to scoop up the lush branches of a tall beech tree that looms overhead. I follow Ursa Major's points of light to Draco's winding body and connect his bright dots with my finger that seems too clumsy and substantial an implement for such a task.
I close my eyes again and try to count all the sounds that fill my ears: crickets stringing, living leaves rustling in the trees and dead ones skittering dryly on the pavement, a far off motor rumbles, a few rogue firecrackers pop and water trickles from the neighbor's artificial pond.
In the process of collecting sounds, my head has lolled back down, automatically panning my view back to earth. Upon opening my eyes I observe fireflies socializing in the yard. I focus my attention on one pair in particular who are flitting around at a distance of a few yards, now they flirtatiously wink at one another from a couple of feet away from one another, now they've brought their frenzied coquetting within inches of one another circling round in elegant figure-eight motions. I look away and feel a certain prude embarrassment for having voyeuristically spied on their courtship.
After having watched the insects, paranoia sets in once more and I fancy that my skin is crawling with unwelcome six- or eight-legged guests. To counter this, I let my wet hair down out of its haphazard bun and let damp, unruly waves of it graze my shoulders and back so that now I'll only think it is my own hair I feel. The smell of my shampoo now overtakes the sweet, green smells that filled my nostrils - combining with the sickly sweet tobacco smell of my cloves while a gentle breeze playfully untucks a strand of hair I'd smoothed behind my ear.
A great many things threaten to crowd my mind but for now I am sharing a discourse with God and asking him to help me redouble my efforts to see things the way He does. It helps for me to look into the sky as I do this and I notice that a lone cloud is obscuring the big dipper. I make a silent promise to my constellation that I won't go back inside until the cloud dissippates, because I know it would be rude to take my leave without saying good night.

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