Summer Heat

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It’s like the sun helps us to breathe again. Not by the lungs but through our skin, each tiny sigh escaping the pores in an ancient exhale. Under ink black shade my body starts to reminisce, wading through waters of a very different kind, one that I cannot swim through. My mind is constrained to well-worn rivers. It knows only the lakes and ponds of my youth, the smooth rocks and tiny fish that populate its streams.

But in this heat my body starts to reminisce. It does not revisit those mapped rivers; instead, it dives deep into an ocean whose depth and feel is set apart and unknown. Memories without a narrative, imprinted by a whisper of a feeling. A vast ocean, devastating and beautiful. Ageless. There can be no swimmer here.

I breathe out through my many mouths without thought or heartbeat. I breathe as my father and mother, and their father and mother, and theirs before them, and many more down that endless chain; like a fishhook, I’ve been caught for only a moment, the gentle tug taking me to a place I have never left but can no longer see. Drinking in summer heat, alive and more awake than I’ve ever been. As I’ve always been. As we were so long ago.