Caught Up In The Slipstream Of Another’s Wings

Published 4:52 pm Friday, May 29, 2015

The sun wasn’t setting.

Even though this moment of daylight-into-darkening was the precise minute sunset was forecast by calculations based on latitude and longitude.

Nor was the sunlight prosaically or poetically draining from the sky.

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The world, where my two feet were standing atop a bluff along the James River in Buckingham County, was simply rolling over into darkness.

From the sun’s point of view, I was setting.

I was draining out of the sky.

We all were.

The sun was, relatively speaking, standing still, as immobile as it can be in a universe rushing toward full expansion.

The spinning Earth was pulling up the covers of darkness.

Pulling down the shades of light.

Tucking us in.

Rest awaiting.

The small light of distant stars, hidden by the daylong brilliance of own starring sun, twinkled onto stage, footlights for the play of dreams to come.

As children, this would have been the time, perhaps, for wishing upon one of them for things we could not see.

Prayers would come later, in the darkness.

Below me, out toward the river, ducks and geese have been flying downstream to their evening habitat after a day of upstream foraging. The sound of the Canada geese flying in the orange glow has been unmistakable.

Flying in strict formation for aerodynamic reasons, they seem to come in squadrons every few minutes, as if returning to base from a mission behind enemy lines.

But there is no enemy.

No bombs.

No bullets.

Homeward bound.

That is all.

To my left, suddenly, the call of the Canada geese sounds much closer to my ears. Then, in near darkness, silhouettes fly toward and then past me, so close that I can hear their wings and the sound of a low-hanging sky rippling with their flight.

I watch them disappear into the nighting sky, a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be treasured.

Or so I think.

The next group flies so close, and just above me, that I can nearly touch them, imagining myself lifted up into their slipstream.

And, in a way, I am.

Though hours away, sunrise seems to dawn, momentarily, inside me.

The Canada geese have altered my inner latitude.

Tuned my longitude to a different frequency.

Light isn’t being poured back into the sky.

From the sun’s point of view, I am rising.

Midnight is still hours away, yet there is something of morning in the feel of my spirit.

By this light, I will say my prayers.

By this light, I will feel them answered.