“Moon Washed” — C.Birde, 5/17
So many steps. Never-ending. A sloping descent through an enclosed, featureless stairwell of smooth plaster walls, and smooth risers barely scuffed with use. Deeply-layered shadows are peeled away by a soft light of unknown origin.
I’ve lost count of the steps, how many I’ve taken; but this neither frustrates nor alarms. It’s an easy descent – my legs do not ache, my heart and lungs do not protest. One step after another, I follow the stairs further. Deeper. Ever downward. My footfalls echo and pulse.
At length, a faint glow of light blooms below, gilds the stair treads. At the base of the stairs is an open doorway. Beyond this, lies a large lake which seems to fall off and over the night sky’s horizon. Above the lake, casting its reflection over the water’s still surface, floats the moon – so full, so enormous, it consumes all that is visible from the doorway’s threshold.
Unable to proceed forward, I stand and marvel at the moon – it swims easily through both air and water, while both elements impede my own progress. The sky is far outside my earthbound reach, and the lake, though it reflects the moon so beautifully, seems to swirl beneath the surface with motes and particles of murky origin.
And then, I am thrust forward and out, propelled into the water. Someone has pushed me – I felt his hand pressed against the small of my back, the thrust of momentum. Arms out-flung, fingers grasping at the night air, toes searching for any foothold, I pitch forward. The moon’s fluid reflection ripples and breaks beneath my fall.
The lake receives me.
Kicking toward the surface, I emerge, sluicing water. The water is lovely – clear, comfortable, the perfect temperature. Sweet on my tongue. Buoyant. Supportive. There is nothing murky here. All is clear.
Through moonlight and water, I am bathed anew.