Dearest Reader:

Shall we keep going? There is far too much to read, far too little to write.

“A Victory”

She is lying. I know it. She is lying in the grass by the tree where the creek curls and the back sides of two mountains, the windward side of one and the leeward side of another, converge at just that point on the horizon to make it seem as if she lies in the absolute center of the world before me. She is halfway between sky and soil, the soil I stand on, equidistant to the peak of one mountain and the peak of the other. She is caught in so much green, green that rubs against the baked brown of the mountains, green that blends into the languid lapis flow of the creek, fringed with green of every shade and texture in the cattails, marsh grass, mossed-over stone, and drooping branches of the weeping willow under whose shade she lies. She is lying in the grass looking up through the tree branches, as I can tell, even from here. She is contemplating the long chains of leaves, the braids and the tangles like so much human hair. She is twisting a finger through her own hair, the beautiful product of so many years’ accretion of dead tissue, like her skin is, hers and mine, and the soil beneath my feet and beneath every inch of her body lying on the grass that feeds on that soil through which the roots of that willow and those of every green thing here run. She is thinking, perhaps, of the willow and its decades’ long growth and the sadness cast and recast in every leaf that falls to the awaiting soil and becomes the soil itself. She is thinking of the creek and its crystal current in the midday sun and how it cuts at the soil, so deadly, so pure, shaping and moving so that even the soil fails to remain unchanged. She is thinking, too, of the mountains between which she is trapped like the smallest of things. She is staring straight through the bundled leaves that weigh down the branches of the weeping tree. And now, I hear it. She is singing. She is lying and singing to the sun where it shines through the branches. She is singing to the creek as it runs by unceasingly. She is singing to the mountains, immeasurable to her eyes, hers and mine, the vast jagged ridges of them cutting at the sky. She is singing, too, to the grass and to every green thing and to the soil of which it is born and to which it will return.

I am feeling the soil, each grain and each morsel between my toes, the roughness like ground beef, evoking scent, evoking taste. I am looking. There are mountains, yes, and the grass and the creek and the sad tree and other things unseen—air, molecules, microbes, other stars behind the veil of the sky; and galaxies, thousands to dwarf us, millions to make us minute, a billion splendid suns to sap us of meaning. And she is singing to each one. And I am seeing her. Out of all of it, I am seeing her. Yes, she is lying, and perhaps I know nothing of life, hers and mine, but I see her in every green thing before me, vibrant, moving, beautifully alone and alone beautiful, lugubrious in its swaying, diminishing as the soil is, as the sun is, bursting into being and out of it. And I know this: in this midday moment, lying there without reason or qualification, she is.