Words and Water

September 13, 2011

Imagery that sticks with me often involves water. It’s also spare, several words that echo back in pictures of resounding clarity. For many months two images have replayed randomly, one from a song lyric, the other from a conversation.

The Portland-based band Casey Neill and the Norway Rats sings: 2 a.m., swimming in the quarry, bathing in all summer glory. How can I not see my ripples pulsing toward rock walls beneath stars, hear my breath, feel the embrace of warm water? In the conversation, a man recalled someone decades ago describing fishing at night in a lake near where I grew up. So clear was the deep water that the sandy bottom sparkled in moonlight.

With those words I’m back at the center of my boyhood universe, a lake. While pausing on the sandy bottom during a night swim, I held my breath and gazed at the sky. Through the lens of rippled water, I saw the moon.