On bat wings, listening

There is a place to which you sometimes return in twilight monents of dreams and visions -- flying on bat wings, tumbling through the violet dusk. Is it the lost home you thought would never change and from which you emerged into a wider world?

Or is it a place you saw one time, in a moment, as you passed by in a car driving trough a small town? There it was, this house on a river with a screen porch in back, blue hydrangeas, and the scent of many flowers drifting through the open windows of your car.

And while you looked, the river turned and swept majestically near the house, its swift currents purling and eddying at the foot of a tangled garden with many an ancient flagstone and a broken trellis.

Settling under the eaves now (on bat wings you wait for the dark and listen to the river. There you hang for a long time waiting, waiting for the cool air from over the water while the crickets and tree toads begin tuning up. The river is for listening.

Sure of the night, flying, you cross and recross the windows of the river house. And in you bat-blind inner vision you think you know what is in those darkened rooms and hallways, as if you had been there before, lived and grown up there. ''How familiar it all feels!'' you say to yourself.

Almost invisible now, you dart in the air over the premises -- the bat author -- putting reminiscences into almost every corner, scene after scene. Is this your own life you're revising? Or is it part of something deeper?

Remember the time you stood in the hall with its tall clock and bannister, and that sudden twinge you felt while your brother, at the piano, was playing Mozart? And again, later, coming down the stairs, you were strangely caught and stopped halfway by that same startling phrase from the piano, the essence of which would never entirely vanish in the deep well of the heart.

You see yourself wandering through rooms like typical summer days or in the garden with its marigolds or at night under the siereal sky.


And with a kind of awe, it comes to you -- how it's always the same at the river house: so many thoughts, deep and half forgotten like summer winds and flower petals blowing over the water.

As if, for a time and when no one knew, listening to the river, you went through a forbidden gate into a garden full of bright, yellow marigolds, and you were blinded. And you knew you would see again, but never exactly the same way. You knew (for the river told you) that, yes, after all, you would find your forgotten moments in all their glory!

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