Seeing Here

by Marcie Swartz

The sky is clear and the sun has warmed the soft
piece of earth I perch on at the edge of the reservoir. My feet dangle just a
bit over the edge, with black boots pointing toward the opposite bank. From my
vantage point, the sun is straight out and up across from me. Though there is
light all around, the direct line of a singular sunbeam reaches across the pond
highlighting the ripples in its wake. The same beam must be hitting me, and I
remain as still as possible trying not to ripple. Light plays off all that is
moving, including those trying not to play.

Cupping my hand over my eyes, I am able to shade out the glare of the sun and
gaze farther outward. Now I see where the bank irregularly encircles the water
like weathered skin surrounding an exposed body. Light not yet shut out accents
the current of the pond’s breath with sparkles that leap from the surface,
glimmer ever so briefly in the air, and vanish while I blink. I stare mesmerized
by their momentary promise of permanence. Possibility guided by involuntary

A cloud snuffs out the sparks of light while gradually blanketing the pond in
shadow. The water takes on a denser quality, with silver mercury circles
indenting the surface like rain dropping without a splash. Each drop rests to
take its shape on top of the resistant opaque exterior, and bounces off again.
For an instant I am deceived into believing the drops are mirror images of
stones on the pond’s bottom, but they are instead likenesses of a less tangible
inhabitant that resides along with the stones. It is not as clear as I would

A green field is a simple backdrop to the intricately interlocked branches
that form layers of borders around the bank. Murky reflections of trees are cast
into the pond, and there is no bouncing where the facade is darkest. Though the
water seems still at that distance, the impetus for the current is there in the
shadows. Wind gusts through the barren branches to churn the surface and fill my
inhaling lungs. Naked of leaves, trees hold their shape against the breeze that
lifts hair off my face. A squirrel nest tests the strength of an upper branch,
and does not fall, knowing better than to lean on what will break. The base of
the tree to my left stands straight with a posture immune to the branches
lengthening dominantly from its water facing side. The tree is not leaning to
weigh itself down with the task of growth, but extending assuredly out to
embrace its energy sources.

The pole posted in the pond does not know to read its own “Danger” sign. It
is spotted with brown rust where water wore off its original coating of paint:
the color of plush grass. The blades of grass that surround me are mostly brown,
and sometimes green, but rarely both brown and green, illustrating the
distribution of sun and water along the bank. They are not uniformly flattened,
but laying down in a multitude of directions; the result of the ground’s failure
to reach a consensus with all that tread on it. The breeze does not linger to
wait for a decision, but sighs while passing over the paralyzed blades.

Grazing my eyes over the landscape, I find imperceptible points of change in
the blend of colors and motion. The pond is predominantly brown and black, but
another’s blue jacket illuminates the blue hiding amongst it. My stare stops to
seat itself on an empty green bench facing me in the field. Looking back at
myself, I time both sets of blinks so as not to miss anything. Silhouettes of
two geese gliding by are connected as they traverse a path through the beam of
light between the bench and myself. They move through the current together to
rest where it beats the wavy profile of the land.

A single leaf is suspended vertically between rocks balancing on the slanted
pond bottom. It leans backward more and more until the waves force it out of its
stance, and sinks before reaching shore. Sticks float in place having fallen
from above, simultaneously pointing both toward and away from my boots, fighting
their entrapment in the eddy.

Flashes of light flicker against my closed eyelids. I cannot see the surface to
tell if they are bouncing off of my illuminated personal current to show a body
rushing within its containment, pushing against its borders equally in all
directions. With no direct outlet to gush from, it is too large to remain
motionless, too small for swells of change. The geese swim across my lids, and
nuzzle in the nests of my tear ducts. There they drink from recycled reflections
of the familiar. I allow them to remain until the wind again climbs my
cheekbone. As the cool air passes through my lashes, I turn my head, rebuffing
its cling. It slides off me, and I ripple my eyes to nudge the geese to ride it.
Tracing their flight into the sun, I’m blinking to avoid being blinded by
intermittent flashes of uncertainty that play in this reservoir of dreams.

Copyright-Marcie Swartz 2003