Images from childhood keep flashing forth, brief and unadulterated; they are connected to our primordial melancholy—that which was once perfect now tinged irrevocably with doubt and despair.
The marsh of the Denbigh River in all its filthy glory fills my nostrils. The river, winding in steep curves back and forth, goes out of its way to stagnate progress. It was always there in my memory and it holds me captive now, dredging up from its very depths slavery and oppression, billions of generations of crawfish, laughter of children, sighs of the heartbroken, wails of the privileged. The salt touches one and all, crystallizing my skin; and the sun always points west in the eternal late afternoon of magical shadows; and the distant splashes of fish too large to be inhabiting this shallow murkiness mirrors the demons in my mind, lurking in that twilight of gods and men.
Then comes that moment not too long ago: again the late afternoon, this time the beach in Corolla. It is low tide, the water purifying in its frigidness. Chairs were brought out to the very edge of the new shore and the golden waves are calmed by the lack of worry and doubt. My body has burned from a long day of that bliss and the water is refreshing as it recedes then pours forth again. My temples crinkle when I turn to my left and there is a young couple—Sikh if the father’s garb is any indication. The woman is beautiful and their daughter laughs with delight at all this majesty. I smile.
Again I climb out of the dark cave of mundanity into the mountains of central Pennsylvania. The remnants of a mighty flood not yet a year old surround me. Dredged up from its antediluvian past, a stoic peace starts to creep in and quell my anxiety. Where once a mighty stream flowed now I stood beside a rivulet; a hundred yards to my right, where only a year previously there was a forest, now a new stream had been forged. The music of Bach and Neutral Milk Hotel played in my ears but the sound of the water rushing forth into something which cannot be contained was a mainstay beneath it all. The air was cool in the forest, with only a touch of humidity in the sun. It was mid-August, and the lush wet ferns bent and sprung forth as I brushed up against them. Sweat mingled with the dew as the rushing of a now-distant stream gave way to the wordless roar of wind through a forest. I followed the intensely-muddy loggers trail for a while and came to a steep yet climbable drop-off down to dried-up creek bed. I descended in a diagonal, my shoes only sliding once in the spongy earth. And there I am on a plain covered by millions of stones, underwater not too long ago, now dry and a minefield for my navigation. Yet in their shadows, there is already new life sprouting forth nourished from the fertile soil below. The water is loud again, and my soul has nothing left to carry. I venture forth as a child, exploring what is to come from that which passed away.
These and many more come from some untrammeled resting place for that which shall never pass away, what was and is and is to come.