West Coast Swing in the Milky Way

by janeeatonhamilton

In the waning day, sunshine moves up the stalks of the reeds, a calypso of dance.  Dragonflies zip in Top Gun precision while Kingfishers consider dives, recalibrate, wing off.  You swim out further than you’ve gone in 27 years–carefully, carefully, patched over your heart, red vial of nitro down your suit, moving slowly, stopping frequently.  Fat girls float.  On back, ears under water, listening to arrhythmic heartbeat, intinerant street drummer pounding inverted trash can.  The water perceptibly warm because the air is chilly.  It’s overcast.  See your legs tread water, yellow in the mud-green water.  Slow breaststroke again.  Across the lake, an osprey kites, maybe pulled by a multitude of jigs.  Diurnal sea hawk diving, landing akimbo, feet first, a hula hoop of wings that look anything but coordinated.  Rising, clumsy diving, rising, clumsy diving, a dancer who’s all talons, flash of white belly and head, dark elbowed wings.

Then night, Maui chicken shishkabob, Thriller and Roy Orbison wafting in from house party down the lake.   Dancing west coast swing in the milky way under fathomless expanse of stars.  Setting long camera exposures, camera body on railing, no sticks, waiting through red light 10 seconds, 20, trying not to breath, f1.4, f2.8.  Viewfinder stars a creamy blur, pretty but not astronomical.  Then when the Perseid shower really gets going, blanket-wrapped backwards on the chaise longue to see over the peak of the roof, while bats buzz me.  Meteors speed into atmosphere at 20,000K an hour.  Burn, sweet baby, burn hard and die.  Shoot that fireball through the Summer Triangle, Cygnus, Lyra, Aquila like a backwards sparkler, all vast razzamatazz.  Don’t pretend you’ve seen anything remotely like this before, don’t be cynical, don’t be jaded, let frolic and jollification rise unbidden in your throat, a  celebration of light, fireworks by the Team-Galaxy, oooohs and ahhhhs because it’s that crazy beautiful.  Deep unquestioning leap of heart.  All that space and any bit of it could kill you in a minute.  Flick into a fire of happiness impossible to squelch at just how fucking happy you are to be alive.  Think:  Love hard, babio.  Think:  Don’t extinguish.