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March 3, 2011
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Reflections
I look out at the nice warm spring afternoon. The sky was a brilliant blue with great, big, puffy, white clouds lazily gliding by, as a soft breeze gently blew my hair out of my face. I walk out the back door of the old country house where I had lived all my life, slamming the screen door, causing a yell from the living room, a sound that quickly silences as I pull the big, white wooden door shut as well. I stand on the back steps for a minute and take in my surroundings. I find myself thinking about how beautiful the trees look. They look so majestic against the blue sky, waving in the breeze. I come out of my thoughts and walk down the hard, cold cement steps on to the soft, green grass. I walk towards the white swing by the duck pond, feeling the cool grass under my feet with each step, and lay down on the swing with my face looking up towards the heavens. I close my eyes and just rest, letting all the tensions, all the drama, and all the negativity just float away. I find myself just listening to the sounds of the yard.
I hear my sibling on the trampoline. Their laughter makes my soul soar to think that with everything we have been through, they can still laugh. That they can still enjoy the simple act of jumping on a trampoline makes me smile. But their laughter soon dies away as they are called in to supper, and I am left alone outside in the peace and quiet. If I turn my head I can see them inside, all gathering around the dinner table. My mom is trying to quiet them, so they can say grace, without much success. Any minute she is going to realize I am not there, but apparently she hasn’t yet. I turn away and close my eyes again, this time listening to the sounds of the evening. I let my leg swing down and rock the swing with my big toe—back and forth, back and forth, always in rhythm, but never fast, always in a lazy almost non-existent sway. I can hear the water trickling into the pond. I hear a duck quack and then another as if to respond to the first. I wonder if ducks have a very complicated language, or could I learn how to speak it? The ducks fly away and I am sorry to see them go; they were such interesting companions to listen to. I settle back down to listening to the sounds of the evening, and I hear the wind in the trees, a bee buzzing, and a bird tweeting. They sound like music to my ears. They bring tears to my eyes as I begin to picture them as an orchestra. The bird, with its pure and high-pitched songs are the flutes and violins, strong but fragile, sharp enough to shatter a glass, but if sung out of tune would shatter itself. The bee, the thumping, buzz, buzz, of the base line, the repetitive thumping of the drums, and the deep, rich, creamy, chocolaty undertones of the low brass accompanied by the tranquil sounds of a swaying tree, filling in the jazzy rhythm of the trumpets, saxophones, and clarinets.
I sigh a little as the sky turns red and orange and the night invades my eyelids, the bees go back to the hive, and the bird to its nest. I know I should go back to the house, but I am too much at peace to think of moving. I hear the buzz of insects that you only hear at night. I start to think about how darkness seems to intensify sound, as if nature knows that you must be louder at night because humans cannot see in the dark. I turn my head again to look through the window into the house. They still haven’t missed me; I am not surprised. My family is so loud it is easy to get lost among them. They are just finishing their dinner; she will realize I am not there when she tries to tell me to wash dishes. I rock the swing a little faster as if it will take me away from the chore that my mother has come to consider my responsibility.
I imagine I am in a canoe. I am canoeing down the mighty Mississippi River, off to explore the west with Lewis and Clark. The rocking swing is my canoe and my leg my paddle. I imagine the beautiful oak trees hanging over the bank, and from its branches hang the exquisite Spanish moss. I grab some as I pass; it smells like the bayou air, that mixture of humidity, fish, and brackish water. I see a turtle on a log by the bank and think what a wonderful life a turtle must have. They get to relax by the water all day and bake in the sun in complete peace with nature and the world, and not a care in sight. I hear a plop and see that the turtle decided to go for a swim; I long to be able to join it and feel the cool water wash over me. But just as my thoughts about turtles conclude, I hear it. The back door to the house is opening. I wait for it and sure enough, “AAAAAAnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaa”, she screams, “dishes!” I heave a sigh. “Okay!” I yell back, but make no effort to move. The night is not the same looking at it from the inside. It is something to be experienced, but I gradually realize that all experiences must come to an end, that life goes on and so must I. I get up and walk to the house. But I turn to give the night one last look as I close the door, and think if only inside was as peaceful as outside.





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