Two Sunsets – by Diane Frank
This is what you remember . . .
A campfire by the river,
flames reflected on the water.
Silver waves, a rock ledge over the cove,
more than one hundred girls
singing at sunset. The hidden place
where the tadpoles swam with silver minnows,
dragonflies skimming the water.
That summer was the first time
you paddled the green canoe on Lake Cohasset.
You practiced strokes on the dock,
then in deep water. Beyond the edge of the lake,
shadows moving like animals
through the pine forests, a warm wind whistling
through summer on Bear Mountain.
Flying over it now,
the shadow of the plane on the mountain,
the twangy notes of a hammered dulcimer,
a banjo, the deep notes of a string bass,
whir into a harmony
that awakens chords
in the place inside you that hums,
where music is born.
In memory, your first airplane flight,
nose to the window
and the wings the stewardess pinned
on your velvet dress.
The sun was setting in the early evening,
and higher, above the clouds,
you watched it set a second time.
Memory spins into music,
a needle on an old Victrola.
Men in tuxedos, women in ball gowns
waltzing on the dance floor,
wood polished to a moonlit shine.
The music, fire by the river,
takes you back in time.
Memory is a tiny frog in your cup,
the rock you used to climb
at the edge of the forest
when you wanted to dream about the future.
In the distance, a fiddle tune
climbing trails on Bear Mountain.
Chords are spreading their fingers like ferns
under old growth pines.
Two sunsets inside the waltz –
a melody that came to you
before the first light of the morning.
The notes, low and deep as the earth
a black bear searching for berries,
dreaming of honeycomb,
eating the enigma of mountain light.