Sunday, June 5, 2016

We call this solitude



Flies buzz to the sweat on my skin. Ants and pillbugs march across this rock I've assigned afternoon base. And I am watching a spindly web-weaver at work on her craft strung up in the the crook of a twisted branch on the opposite side of the canyon stream. I admire how the sun glistens off the blue back of the fly. Above the stream's churning ostinato a treble note pierces the daylight. A warbler? A thrush? I do not know birds as well as I wish. A battalion of ants parades the mossy crevice of a log at my back. Sleeping pillbugs nestle like lovers inside the splintered wood. I become fascinated. The colony, how they lift their antennae in greeting to one another, and yet wander blindly in and out of the latticework of decay. A pillbug tumbles from a sliver of wood and struggles on his back, legs paddling the air until he rights himself, then jogs like a one-man track team beneath the shadow of the log. A single mayfly helicopters past on this fourth day of June. Across the stream more frantic specks of light paint dizzy circles above the cool spray of the current. A sudden breeze joins sunbeam in tango along the glittering tightrope slung branch to branch by that crafty weaver. She is still at work in the crooked tree, poised for a moment before leaping in graceful glissando from the center of her snare to a third point on the gnarled limb. Sustained midair on her transparent tapestry, she is waiting. The mayflies and ants, the pillbugs, mosquitos, and blue backed flies—we are all watching her. How could anyone get tangled in the illusion of this solitude?

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