Winter is when the memories seem to rise up unbidden, and winter is coming to an end. Even though I tend to stay up late, I keep getting awakened by the light of sunrise, now about 5:30 a.m. Springtime is overtaking memory.
But somehow, a memory of a sunrise slipped into consciousness just now….
One June, when we were living over by White Pond in Concord. Carol was away on one of her trips to Mexico; I was sleeping alone; I came wide awake before dawn. Say four o’clock. Couldn’t get to sleep, didn’t want to. Put the canoe on the car and drove down to the river.
Untied the canoe as the sky was just starting to turn light, paddled down river to Fairhaven Bay. I drifted into the bay as the sky started to turn from black to blue. Mist rising over the bay. I tried a few casts in the shallow, upstream end of the bay; nothing. In the downstream end of the bay, there’s a deeper hole, and there I hooked a big bass on light tackle and with barbless hooks; after maybe quarter of an hour I brought him to the boat, wet my hand, and held him while I released the hook then let him swim away to keep breeding. I turned around to see that the sun had just hit the top of the rising mist, about twenty feet above the river; an Osprey circled overhead in the sun, a far more efficient catcher of fish than a single human could ever be; a Great Blue Heron stalked smaller fish along the shore. I drifted in silence for a while. The sun crept up over the horizon: gold light in the mist; but as I paddled into the mist, it only appeared white.
The mist was gone by the time I reached the boat landing.
…a memory that doesn’t translate into words very well. A memory that dissipated as I tried to write it down. Something about a gut-level, direct knowledge of my place in the ecosystem, in the universe — but that’s putting it badly. It’s gone now.