I woke this morning to the cry of seagulls, on their way to somewhere, remembered yesterday's glistening lake, and then we walked out, steeled for damp decay. Instead the street was suffused with indescribable warmth, a sense of goodwill that seemed at odds with the sharp-edged nerves of past weeks but in harmony with yesterday’s lone kayaker, weaving lace fans from light and water. Where all this good cheer, washing over the early morning street, was coming from was a mystery. I knew I was not generating it. It didn’t bubble up from me; rather, it flowed down over me when I stepped outside, swelling to palpable waves the minute we put our feet on the sidewalk. It was as if someone had thrown over the neighborhood glittering lace tatted by small transparent hands belonging to cheerful fairies intent on including bits of music and memory in their net. I looked up and the sky sparked. I looked down and the sidewalk settled into a river. Passersby laughed or smiled, waved good morning. Not one person who passed seemed grumpy, depressed or out of sorts. Perhaps, such ebullience belongs more to spring than the end of summer, when flowers fade and the grasses decay to gray, but there it was; I’m not complaining . . . just enjoying. I’m a fan of lace. Keep tatting it up. Can’t get enough of it.
Years ago, when my boys were small, we tried to climb a high hill in the mountains of North Carolina made entirely of mica dust, dumped there after the flat sheets of mica were carted away to be used as furnace windows. The hill was fun to clamber on but slippery enough to discourage all but the most agile from climbing too high. With every step up, we slid backwards and tumbled down until bare skin glistened as if painted with light washed by diamonds. Thrusting arms deep into the silken sand, hands emerged looking like transparent lace when help up to the sun. We were being transformed to jewels. I suppose it was very bad for us, all that mica, but that was three decades ago and we’re still here, healthy, happy, and still laughing.
This mountain of fairy dust sat next a sparkling stream that burbled over a rock ledge as a waterfall so full of mica that it fell like liquid starlight, sparking and springing at least twenty feet until it ended in a silvered pool next to a blooming meadow below. We stood at the rocky edge of the falls, next to the white-jeweled mica hill and the liquid diamond falls, throwing handfuls of mica dust into the air and down to the flats below. As the dust floated lazily downward, the flat transparent specks caught the edges of sunlight, like fish swimming on the flat side of wind.
I remembered that sparkle today, walking down Peralta St past St Patrick’s and the sidewalk gardens. I’m not quite a fish, but I am a bit out of my depth. Maybe it was just the heady aroma of the purple salvia, exhaling its most delicate perfume to attract after a summer of developing blooms, but it felt as if every breath I took was plump with human kindness, and that kindness was polishing me to a fine-edges jewel. What's not to like?