January 23rd – Reflections in the water completed the circle
Days were lengthening now: the sun
made an appearance for an hour
or two, minutes longer as the year turned
the earth around. It was not the sun
she had come for: the sun was a break;
time to adjust. The ground was hard
under her feet: an ice crust cracking
as she shifted. The air was bitter.
She was dressed for it: layers over layers over
layers, but for now her hands were bare,
gloves strung from elastic loops, hanging.
Evening had fallen. Hard. She had waited
days for the clouds to part, for the snow
to stop falling. Her breath spelled out her name.
The moon was new. Barely enough light
to pick out the snowcaps fringing the lake.
Hot springs kept it ice-clear; just a frosting
on the shore, entombing the reeds,
holding them in sway. She waited. Everything
was ready. She crouched, checked, widened
the lens until it swallowed the sky. Framing
was everything. She slid her hands back
into the welcoming thickness of the gloves,
built for this. She squeezed life back
into her fingers, stretching each joint, flexing.
Still she waited. The stars swam
into focus, pinpricks of light sharpening
into familiar shapes, constellations of stories.
The Milky Way splashed its path across
the arc of the sky. Nothing moved. Silence.
Then, movement. A stirring: she stirred,
slipping her hands out again, crouching,
eye to the body, hands on the lens,
focussed. She focussed. And the sky danced.
The sky danced green. That was the only way
she could describe it, later: it danced
to the music of itself, and the aurora played
with shape and form, becoming and unbecoming.
Tangible and not. She clicked the shutter,
only half aware of what she was seeing,
the snow around her bouncing back
unearthly colours. And then, amongst the joy
of everything, what she had only dreamed of:
an arch, auroral form for a moment becoming
describable, bridging the still blackness
of the lake. She adjusted the lens, exposed
the workings to time. Pressed the shutter and
held her breath. It was perfect. Reflected
in the mirror dark, the circle was complete.
Inspired by a prompt from here