Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sandpiper Summer

 Late summer now, and it seems that each of my running journeys makes its way to a shore: hard-packed mud or pebbled bar along the Winooski River; sandy urban beaches along Lake Champlain at Burlington. And in these places I keep meeting up with the sandpiper—that fleet, long-legged shorebird with plumage the pale, summer-washed gray and sandy dun of distant ocean beaches, that pealing ripple of song as the bird runs, feet wet, wings lifted up and held back, along the light-silvered shore.
 I’ve come to feel a connection with the sandpiper this summer. I, too, have been solitary and shore-exploring, drawn to liminal places: meetings of water, land, moving light.
And as the summer reaches fullness and ripening, I feel the sense of something finished, of movement on— no, toward— a different horizon.
  The time alone has been time well-spent—long runs for meditation, contemplation, motion, memory. This has fed the work I’ve made: the long sound art composition THE HARBOR AT DAWN, the series of Lake Champlain watercolor paintings that began with sketches made beginning last summer and that I finished this week. I feel myself carrying a sense of completion; of deep, deep feelings recognized, engaged with, and acted upon-- with focus and discipline; with patience, effort, and love.

 Also, all that time for reading. Just enough band practices, gigs, shifts at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, and dinners with Robin to keep me from total isolation. I am grateful to have gone deep this summer. I have come out different.

 There is still a sense of uncertainty about major things ahead—domicile in particular. But the school year begins anew in less than two weeks, and I look forward to the intensity of middle school energy. There are lots of gigs on the near horizon, and singing and playing steel guitar with the great musicians I have the privilege to work with is an utter joy. And my creative decks are cleared for beginning draft three of Dutra mystery novel number 4, with first-readers’ notes compiled and partially contemplated—ready to roll sometime in the fall.

  Back now, to that late-summer sandpiper, running on hard-packed sand alongside blue-green water. The breaking white of small waves;  a hazed August sky above.  A ringing call rises, sounding above the white noise of those waves. The shorebird runs, wings swept back, held high, now lifting, lifting--lifted…

 Journal entry and watercolor sketch by KMB, August 2013.