On a deck chair by the lake. Chirps, rustles and laps. Broken by the occasional sound of a motorboat. There have been few since morning for the wind was high. The single water scooter treads the waves cautiously today, they have a bounce that I have not seen before. The waves and I are not old friends, we just met. A firm line between us marked by the reeds that grow tall and slim, dancing to the tune of the same wind that rocks the waves and passes by me. I am the outsider here. And yet, made one by the wind. She caresses us all in her sweep. One who loves all equally.
The waters here are steady, bound to their land, their sun and the wind. They rise and fall with the wind, to the sun they owe their colours, to the land their bounds and their being. Without the bounds they would have flowed away as the other waters have, nameless except in the name of the flow. Would they have been loved so if they had not been bounded? Would so many have crowded around her to share their moments of love and peace unless they knew that she was steady? As steady as their hopes, their dreams and all that they sought. The waters knew our heart. They knew of our leaps with the wind, they knew the calm of our depths, they knew of the urge to get away, they knew the value of the bonds. And so they stayed and we came to look upon them. Our reflection in more ways than the obvious, they brought us to life in more ways than the obvious.
But look, there she is, green again. As if to tease the blue skies. I am not a reflection of you, she mocks. The sky, silently stares. It cannot turn green, like the verges of the lake. It cannot meet her, like the green reeds that grow along her shores. It can but turn a sullen grey, or hide itself behind greyer clouds. But today the clouds are in no mood to be sullen. Puffy and soft, they glow in the reflected light of the bright sun. They will be loyal to both-their grays are showing too. They dance to no will but their own, or so they think. Are they vain, do they know how beautiful they look with their puffy whites, their bluish grays and golden glints standing aloft in their solitary glory. We do not see the wind that carries them, that shapes them. We see them as they are, waiting to be loved. There are stories in these clouds, we know. Each of them tells a tale.
The tales that these clouds tell are lies we know. They will never tell us their truth. They only seek to please, these courtesans of the skies. Just look at them, all pretty and painted, changing shape whimsically, to suit the powers of the day. Or even moment. They are pink in the morning sun, change again to the winds, Frothy and orange for some, silver and grey for others. They tell the stories of the moment, and we seek our moments in them. I see a face in them today, an animal in another. Another becomes a plane, a ball, a mountain. But really, let me tell you their secret. They call themselves the flying carpets of our dreams. Our dreams do not come to us, they say. They say that we fly gently onto them, sinking in their glorious softness, surrounded by the dreams they carry. Far and wide, into realms unknown, they are made of sterner stuff than they seem. Of silks and cottons we know, but have you seen the stuff of clouds? They are made of lies. Lies we can weave into truths, if we believe in dreams. For what are hopes if not lies?
It is noon, the swans remind me. Flapping low, in formation over the lake. Unnerved by their whooshing wings, I come back to earth, following their little flight as far as the eye can see. The clouds call me back, but I will not be seduced again. There are earthly tasks that hold me firm, bounded as the lake can tell. I look at her, my lake and wonder – how much of herself did she give to these clouds? Can she call them hers, ever? For ever? And still be herself, the lake.
She is happy, I can see. My lake, she has her moods, her whimsy, her admirers. She has her place in the world, her anchors and those that need her more than she knows or needs to know. She has her depths and her shallows. Her world has a sameness, a stillness and a dash of the fickle. She has it all, and yet she surges, lapping away angrily at her edges – the same ones that hold her close as if in firm embrace. Maybe that is why she surges, knowing she can be sure of that embrace.