Photography by Sarah Michelle Ogden
As I skip rocks at sunset from my campsite’s cloistered shore, I grab the pocket guide More Moss to Live Off: Eighth Edition – promising the secrets of enlightenment on a gold foiled star – and toss it in too. I watch as it skips even worse than my watch did. And my anxiety floats there. I imagine,
Each day acted in the round. I imagine the orchestra poised: And!
Bay fog lifts, ghost of this shrinking theatre, to un-curtain insects waltzing the still basin. Bring out symphonic chickadees! Bring on woodpecker percussionists! To goad us trespassers bumbling with tent poles and bug spray. “Gouge Away,” I sing, stubborn to weather the blackflies. As warm air wafting from a foggy swamp buoys darting bats, the bullfrog still belches its slow metronome.
Anxiety because it’s easy to think it’s just us in this lustrous bubble: nature and I entwined, the whine of cars on concrete left behind. Oh! malicious noise whose mere presence here might pop my ludic notions, might cause caprice enough for me to rip free these clothes and streak like mad lightning through the clear night’s milky sway. Here, where nature’s rated PG. Reeds turn in a soft breeze. Pine needles tinkle too. It’s easy, I imagine, in the heartbeat and sighs of the Algonquin night cradle, so I simply turn back to the show at hand.
Step off, steady now, my paddle dips a J-stroke once and I’m afloat through the sky’s snoring reflection. A slow satellite over the water’s rippling dreams. My shallow arc is almost imperceptible as the whole world rests. I’ve littered in the lake, I know, guilty in whim, fancy and ignorance; I’ll take the blame, for who can be, among the reeds and the inverted world, enlightened as the rising moon allows?