Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page.
By Susie Moses
All summer long I yearn to be in water.
First choice – A freshwater lake, cool and clear, minerally, soothing to the skin. Quiet, still. Maybe at times a whitecap or two, but no big waves, just gentle undulations, giving the swimmer a sense of massage. A tickle of weedy underwater growth against a foot, a small fish swishing by a shin. Avoiding the mucky bottom.
Second choice – An East Coast ocean, edged by wide white sandy beach stretching for miles along the shoreline. Sweet breezes, bright white pelicans in formation against the stunningly azure sky. Watching them drop like stones into the waves to spear a fish each had been keeping an eye out for.
Venturing into the water as it laps onto the hard sand, toes tickled by the searching wavelets propelled by the incoming tide. The zing of the chill, a thought of recoiling immediately overcome by the desire for immersion, the feel of the briny liquid fully enveloping the cranium.
Muffled underwater sounds create a sense of otherworldliness, a retreat from the cacophony of life above the surface—squealing toddlers, mothers’ warnings: “That’s far enough!” Squawking seagulls, shouting teens as they hurl frisbees at one another. Momentary peace—but only for as long as a breath can be held.
Third choice – A small river, where I found myself last weekend, immersed in green water flowing between old beech trees, tulip poplars and sycamore arching above the waterway, gnarled ancient roots exposed along the eroding muddy bank.
I lie prone in the water above the massive rocks that pave the river bottom, face skyward, reveling in the flight of the great blue heron soaring overhead as it traces the path of the flow. I hang on to a silty stone to keep from being swept downriver as I feel the steady pull of the moving stream. The shore is rocky where we emerge and retrieve our beach chairs, wedging them amongst stones, a bit of a wobble inevitable as we balance them on the uneven surface as best we can, and splay ourselves out to dry off in the sun’s strong rays.
Did I say this was number 3? At that point, lying in the bracing liquid caressing my body, hot sun warming my upturned face, my hair pulsating with the water’s movement, taking in the wonder of the great blue making its way upriver, I think it simply can’t get any better than this.
Summer at its finest.
Nestled in a body of water far from human development, noticing an iridescent blue dragonfly waft about. Noting a doe and her fawn far downstream crossing to the other side. No sign of another person for miles, save the one dear friend who floats nearby.
This is nirvana. Cool water, clear light, brilliant sky.
Nature. Respite. Peace.
Susie Moses is a generative writing junkie, enjoying the process and dreaming of actually doing something constructive one day with the piles of papers and notebooks she has accrued, that are spilling out of closets and off shelves and out of drawers.
But for now, just getting words down on the page is an accomplishment and a delight. She spent the year of Covid in Marin County to be near her daughters, but has returned to her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, at least for a while.
You can read Susie’s dream of living in a cabin in a forest, by the edge of a lake here.