Sunday, 19 July 2020

Water Spell

It might have been the colours of the wharf where I had sat myself down ... or the call and coast of the gulls ... or perhaps the water’s scent, that conjured forth a mid-twentieth century ambience that set off the familiar parade of phantoms … my childhood family … stirring, yet again.   All those happy times ... shared ... at water's edge ... with nary a single harsh word-or-worry, remembered ... to muddy-the-bliss ... Such is the spell of water ... Alas ... it is not without end.

I was, momentarily, jostled from my reflections as she joined me there ... sitting down beside me … We dangled our legs off the pier … though, they did not reach the water … I had brought a picnic supper ... a rather late supper ...  OUR salad (as we had dubbed it) of couscous and lemon and parsley and garbanzo beans which we began to scarf down, hungrily, with buns and ginger ale. "You seem lost in thought," she said, at last.

"Being near to a body of water, has that effect on me," I explained. "It seems to kick up so many memories ... like flames from embers … or rivers from rivulets.  We're making one now, for you."

"And for you, too, she hastened to add," to which I offered no response.

"Are they all good memories," she asked.

"The ones that surface most often, pretty much are ... but perhaps, 'bittersweet' would be a better word ... as many of the people in them, have passed." She nodded then and issued a plodding sigh ... acquiescence to the hard truth of mortality.

"I often read at water's edge," ... I remarked … handily changing the subject ... and I find now, that passages from the books I read, sometimes play out against a shoreline canvas."

And then, suddenly seized by inspiration, I added, "Look over there, below those cliffs. If you squint your eyes, you can just make out the image of a women ... clutching a thread bare shawl ... obviously, waiting for her sailor love ... to return from the sea."

"Oh there he is," she quipped, getting in the spirit of the tale "... in a red jogging suit
 ... Hm-m-m-m:  completely bald ... with a foot long white beard … Golly ... it has been a long wait."

And we both burst out laughing in sprays of champagne soda bubbles. 

The day was coming down from its peak ... far more sunshine having shone than remained ahead. Out on the lake, two sailboats met ... and then ... passed each other. One of them turned back to shore ... The other ... sailed further and further out ... until, at last ... I couldn't be sure if I had imagined that I could still see it ... Finally, I was sure ... it was gone from sight ... For a moment I wondered if I had seen it, at all ... or if it had just been an illusion.

"Can I interest you in anymore," I prodded, as I began to bundle up the remains of the repast ... in the remains of the day.

She shook her head, 'No' ... and commented, "It was really nice, though. Too bad … all good things have to end."

"They don't end, entirely, as long as someone hangs on to the thought of them," I theorized, philosophically.  

"You called those memories 'bittersweet' ... more sweet-than bitter … would you say?"

"Absolutely …  As you get older, they surprise you, with their vibrancy ... and their warmth ... and their depth of meaning … The quiet, gentle ones are the best … They cast a special light … a warm and calming light ... upon all the days to come.  You'll see." And I patted her hand, for added assurance.

The tide was coming in and the two of us scooched backwards ... That didn't slow it down for a second.

'Light tomorrow with today' - Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806 - 1861

photo:  the Picnic Place at Belcarra Regional Park - W. Bourke

© 2020 Wendy Bourke

1 comment:

  1. Ah, i was right there with you. That salad sounds delicious! A lovely reverie.