June 01, 1980
Coolness still soothes this place as morning light’s stiff fingers probe, easing through the gaps in the mulberry and maple leaves, creating a green glow as the tiny green buds of mulberries wait to bloat – a pale variety that will grow purplish white when they are ripe, dripping a little too richly as they quickly ferment, unlike the darker red/purple mulberries that grow in other place. The maples hang heavy with green leaves, not the pulsating wine-colored variety that looms over the abandoned estate passed which I jog each morning from
These leaves here whisper with a quiet seduction, creating twilight that has long slipped away in other places, rustling only when the wind’s insistent fingers press through. Old trunks of trees defiantly stiff lean at angles over the slow-moving water trapped in scum-covered pockets of water, dead or dying trees still dripping with the remnants of last night’s drizzle.
Even the leaves drip and I open my mouth to let these drops drip in, painting my lips moist as many miss and paint my cheeks, my eyes, my whole face with their glistening. The path down from the street to the dock flows with the excess, my feet slipping on long patches before I arrive.
I rarely come here lately.
But I know the sun will press its advantage, churning up this still water until it steams, a savage attack against which the leaves cannot protect it, beams of light stabbing through every gap until the whole place sweats, not from the trickle of night time drizzle dreams, but from the agitation that makes the water come to a near boil and stirs up this broth until it oozes up the bank.
Then the bottom feeders will rise, bloated bodies exposed just under the surface as they dip in and out of the deep places and draw out the secret treasures only the deepest places contain, taking their pleasure during the most intensely heated moments before the day expires and the steam cools.
But for now, I linger in the quiet, hearing but not seeing the gulls above, their shrill cries speaking of aching that only dipping their beaks will satisfy, their shadows passing across the pale face of the Route 46 Bridge I can just see the feet of through the tender veil of lowered leaves.
I sip my coffee, licking the lid and then my lips, feeling the sharp edge of its flavor working down inside of me, an early heat that stirs me up the way the sun does the water, my feet dangling now over the edge of the dock, toes swinging inches from the surface of water.
Between here and the bridge, the small falls hiss and hum, its water already frothing in anticipation of the greater heat that will soon overcome the whole the river. Behind the silver hull over the Service Diner, the rude crows feed, poking at anything that moves in their persistent unruly hunger, satisfied with the excesses of the trash bins other more dignified wildlife avoids.
Even this early, in the peace of this place, the water stirs, its sultry skin growing more and more turbulent the nearer the center, twisting ropes of moving water that seem to grow more and more binding, creating suds from the pollution that eases towards the shore in small white clumps, reaching me, weaving around the pointed tips of each protruding stone near shore or the desperate fingers of fallen branches that clutch them and hold them until they become a snow-colored scum that fills up the dark spaces here.
Down stream, just visible to me in the other direction, the smoke stacks of the mills and factories poke at the sky, each showing the shimmer of the harsh light against one side, make to throb with the threat of potential humidity and the torture of the impending day, their brick faces cracked so that the shadows look like long, purple veins rising from the clump walls all the way to the tip of their spires where dark fumes spew and color the sky, glistening most with moisture near their rips that ripple with the reflected red of the rising sun.
I sip the last of my coffee and rise, hobbling up the slippery slope to the road, feeling the steam rise inside me as well as out, as the twilight morning gives way to a steamier day.