Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Morning After the Night Before

Walking in the fog makes me aware of air as a volume. Unlike a breeze or the solid humidity of summer, fog is loosely tangible and, especially when I’m navigating half by sidelong glances and half through the screen of my camera, it can be a disorienting sensation to feel your movement through the air and the accumulation of it on your skin. My ankles lift as my skin wishes the air were thick enough to allow me to float.

The camellias and magnolias are blooming, along with something that was less showy but highly scented. Between the tangible air, the heavy perfume, and the tumbled camellia blossoms, it was like walking through the remnants of a ballroom that had popped like a bubble the night before.
It is Sunday morning, so silent that I discard the ballroom image for one of an open Cathedral, bounded by the visibility of the air itself and full of tired, blowsy worshippers who are weeping their prayers into the morning. Despite the heavy drops that fall from the taller trees, poking my shoulder like people jostling in a crowd—the air itself is crowded, today—despite this, webs are invisible and I have walked through several.
Between the webs and the mist, I am constantly aware of the tops of my socks, the edges of my shorts, and my bare arms. Everything is muted except for the sensation of moving through this space, placing my feet carefully on the slick brick paths. I brush at the webs, but another one wraps around me and I begin to imagine legs in my hair, at the edge of my neckline.

Briefly, the idea of a spider peering out from the edge of my shirt at the park seems companionable; it is very still this morning. Then I think of eyes piled on eyes and I shudder. My fingers begin brushing at my arms again.

Just before I leave, still thinking about the silence, I come upon the remnants of a celebration. Tiny, shiny confetti “congratulations” litter a small area by a bench. Yesterday, my brother had mentioned that he took pictures of things that reminded him that other people had been on the path before him—a coke can left at the side of the path, a smear of orange paint left by the park staff as they marked off areas for change. I’m not enough like him to be grateful for this splash of trash, to incorporate it into the exploded dance I imagined. As the fog lifts, leaving the heaviness of my body for my knees and ankles, I let the image fall away, detritus in the imagination.

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