August 6, 2008
Here’s a secret about the tuba.
Eastward, across the San Juans to their looming guardian Mount Baker.
I snapped this from the plane (well, I suppose that’s obvious unless I have mystical levitating powers that I have heretofore not announced) a few days ago, before this week’s afternoons of searing sunshine and vivid blue kicked in.
It does not look like this now. That’s because “now” is the middle of the night, and the brightest stars, some falling and shooting and whizzing across overhead, most others staying put for the moment, have taken up all that space in the sky. I had ventured into the darkness a little while ago to place something in the mailbox, wondering what, if any animals I might surprise as I walked into the woods to the road. It was I who was surprised, by the unusually balmy air that embraced me and by the desperately sweet smell of plants as they surrender to summer. I stood still and inhaled, and my face was enveloped by a scent I could never identify but do not want to live without. Instead of continuing back to work, I laid outside in the hammock looking up and out and inward all at once, marveling at the perfection of 3 a.m. and the beautiful secrets it contains.