One Sierra mountain night,
just a few hours before dawn,
(after I had bid the dance hall adieu and
started the slow walk up the trail toward sleep)
there was this moment…
(how do you say, “silhouette” in your language?)
when the sky glowed as silver as smooth abalone, and
a solstice moon, through pale gauze clouds,
became back-light to four ancient pine trees.
I was stopped by the beauty of it all:
the perfect relief of form from darkness, and
the Milky Way’s delicate swath high overhead,
stretching across indigo velvet.
I was stopped and so awed that I held my breath
for fear that even the smallest disturbance
might wrinkle the night air around me.
And in that moment of reverence,
that one breathless point in time,
I heard an audible sigh from the evergreen quartet.
Mountain air pushed aside the wine,
poured across my face and stung my eyes
as, I stared willfully
into the shadows, and gained clarity just in time
to watch long lacy lower boughs of
those four ancient folk, lift and tremble
in the pearly light.
Back down the hill, music continued filling pockets of night.
Dreams wrapped themselves on blissful pipes,
strokes of bow against strings and laughing drums,
carried more songs of weary but willing revelers.
While out inside the silhouette,
out in the fierce breathe of dawn and miracle,
the trees had joined the reel!
Each strong branch began to bend and bow in rhythm.
What once was rigid, became supple.
What once lived rooted, was set free,
and with silent grace, their needled-skirt hems rose over the ground
and four solid trunks were revealed –
shaking off earth and swaying into a motion
that none upon the dance floor would witness,
yet was happening before my eyes with the surety of the sun’s arrival.
Life’s sharp joy pressed against my heart like a prayer,
like a song, and like one trembling, breathless dance
at the glowing edge of moonlight and dawn –
where all things are possible.