We went for a night swim in the river, with only a candle tucked in our pockets.
The path was dark, as it meandered through the forest, down to the light of the river. But our feet could feel the way, from the feet that had gone before and pressed the earth firm.
You are not alone, the path said, in time, or in space.
And so we walked in the impossible dark of the forest, with slow and careful steps, to where the sky opened up with starlight, and the soft skin of the river was equal to that light.
We lit a candle, and nestled it in the grass, then slid into her cold dark body. River, night, stars. All around us. Our childhood fears of dark and deep water stirred as we sank into her delicious embrace, the stones underneath our feet slick, the air in our lungs quick with the cold.
There were fireflies everywhere, and downstream they gathered in symphonic profusion.
Everything was dark and mysterious and glimmered with starlight and firefly phosphorescence.
How do you properly take something so beautiful into yourself?
It’s as if an angel had appeared, before us, dark and dressed in stars, terrible and brilliant all at once, something so great and magnificent, that all we could say was, I am dust beholding you.
We could have come in the heat of the day, and that too would have been a blessing. We could have come at dawn, with birdsong and a dew-kissed path laid clear and jeweled before us. But we came at night, when the dark could stir up fear and wonderment, and the mystery of the world could reveal itself.
We went for a night swim, and in the dark river, we remembered–– we are dust, and we are breath; we are anointed with the numinous.
You can purchase a canvas print of the pastel “Night Swim With the New Moon” in my shop. Cards are also available.