Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 @ 10:54 am
Rain lashes against the windshield. Lightning flashes and briefly illuminates the mountainous landscape. Red tail lights ahead. We pull into the campground and choose a site based on drainage patterns. The forest is black. Rain pools on the ground and fills ditches. More lightning. Thunder rolls through the mountain valley, sometimes sharp and cracking, other times a low roll that ends in a guttural sonic boom.
Inside the camper van, we pour wine and make dinner. Rain against the canvas pop top. Removing our clothes and pulling the thick covers over bare bodies. I kiss his face, his neck, his chest, his low ribs. The time between the flashes of lightning and the echoing thunder increases. The sound of the rain decreases. His breath evens out. I love you.
The next afternoon, we carry our paddleboards down to the lake. The water surface is still, and as I paddle I watch the lake floor move beneath me. Aquatic plants. Logs. Darting fish.
We paddle into a shallow bay. A sudden slap-whoomph. I startle and turn to see a ring of ripples.
“That was a beaver,” he says.
I paddle towards the rings. A movement beneath the surface. The rounded brown body of the beaver, its legs pumping alternately. A slow cruise. I turn to float along above it, dipping my paddle occasionally to keep pace. It swims through the logs. The flat, waxy tail. Left, right, left right.
I stop paddling and let it disappear up the lake. It surfaces a ways ahead and eyes us nonchalantly.
The bushes along the shoreline aflame in burnished golds and reds.
Ducks take off from the surface of the lake, leaving behind downy feathers.
Back at the campsite, I shave wood into tinder. Swing the axe. Pieces of wood falling neatly and satisfyingly into two. Lighting the fire, cupping my hand around the tinder, breathing into the fire.
I sit back on my haunches, adding kindling as the fire grows.
Later, I pull a silk and lace garment over my head. The fabric feels like water moving against my skin. He comes into the van and his eyes rove across me. I bite my lip.
He reaches over and touches my collar bone, tracing down along the edge of the lace.
“You make me feel beautiful.”
“You are beautiful.”