South of Savanna, Illinois – October 15, 2012
Today was beautiful. The water still as glass. The skies blue. The sun warm on my skin.
It never ceased, never changed, it just stayed beautiful all day.
It’s hard to place next to yesterday. The rain, the cold, the north wind, it all feels like a fading dream, not quite real.
I remember pushing the boat away from a sandbar as the wind ripped the heat off my body. My hands shook and wouldn’t close tight enough to pull my skirt over the cockpit. I had to hold my fingers under my armpits until blood pumped into them again.
I remember waves crashing over the deck. The way they grew big, nasty, and real in the middle of the channel. The way the wind-blown spray hit my face like a handful of tacks.
I remember sitting in a lock, not moving, not generating heat. I watched the water sink down and counted each foot. I tried not to shake waiting for the doors to open.
I remember reaching for my hat and finding nothing, then feeling like I should give up and go home, like I couldn’t feel my hands, like I would never be warm again.
Then I woke up today, saw perfection, and forgot yesterday existed at all.
That’s the beauty though, today’s perfection lies in yesterday’s memory, in the hint of numbness along my fingertips that lingers as I stretch them in the sun.