Midnight dims the light to a cool meridian blue and even the gray rocks glow like blue aquarium rocks in the twilight. The sky is white like the mountain tops and gray cobwebs of spent clouds drape themselves along the black dunes of exposed rock. The trees rise black and dark green against the glow but leave no shadows, even the corn yellow patio lights don’t cast far enough to disturb the ripple-less calm blue. The cold air is reassuring and the silence is watchful.
Gravity pools between the trees in the forest; the absence of blue issues a leaden beckoning toward its unnatural blackness. The hollows drink up the blue like a black hole, a yawning abyss lined with moss and softened trees. In the sunlight, moss hangs from leafless branches and ferns unfurl from their bed of lichen and mushroom covered tree stumps, and there are still no shadows.
Cold sunlight on a black beach. The absent tide shaped the sandbar we name god’s tongue and on it we cut cheese with a pocket knife for lunch. We pass through the fairy tale forest to get here; any echo muffled, a silent, tolerant response to our soft-pawed sparring. Surrounded by a family of mountains, Benson, Alice, Marathon, we pass wine bottles by the campfire, always a guitar grounding the gale of voices against the ceaseless movement of water from mountaintop to ocean. I imagine they’re amused, those cousin mountains. We must be a colorful smudge against their endless gaze.
To come to the land without shadows is to leave wherever you are for a reason. We face each other in circles and betray our guarded selves in sideways glances, moments of beauty, surprise connections and challenged estimations. The shadows are on the inside. We share meals, pipes, 9x11 sheds commonly referred to as cabins, sunny afternoons and beautiful stray huskies with striking blue eyes. Words are light and easily spent or absent altogether. An ocean of shadows lies just beneath the surface, a calm and wearied tragedy, weighed and measured and finally abandoned like Mayan pyramids in the jungle.
Sorrow is just old joy.
Sorrow is old, spent joy.