Shimmering portal to distant past

June 29, 2008

Summer stars greet the sun today — freshly opened blossoms in my Portland teardrop pond. I’ll wade in and reward my babies with fertilizer pellets. But I’ll be tempted to disappear beneath the lily pads into my past.

As a kid living next to Lake Sybelia in Maitland, Florida, my two brothers and I endlessly played hide-and-seek in watery thickets of weeds next to our narrow beach. I learned to burrow beneath layers of dead plants and push only my lips above the surface. I was nearly impossible to find, but David and Billy soon caught on and used the same tactic.

Our fearlessness, heightened by sibling rivalry, seems stupid today. But was it? If video games existed then and we played them instead, I wouldn’t remember with nostalgia my highest score. I wouldn’t recall what is with me now: the acrid smell of marsh — life and death redolent in every breath.