He stands at the sink watching the sun set on the still water. “There will be stars in the lake tonight,” he says aloud to the emptiness. After supper, he nestles his sorrows into the soft cushions of the armchair, banks the fire, and gently closes the cabin door. He makes his way through the bracken to the shore, disturbing the robins at their rest. In this quiet world, his kayak rumbles over the pebbles, embraces the water, then glides backward passed the warped and weathered dock. He dips his paddle behind him and turns into the night.
He journeys until the darkness is absolute: no remnant of twilight, no hint of moon. Only the elements of air and water. Of breath and paddle.
There he settles low and waits until not a ripple from the kayak, not a drip from the paddle, not a whisper from the wind mars the surface, until the lake transforms into heaven’s looking glass. He finds himself at the center of the universe – the stars beneath him are as bright as the stars overhead, the depths below as vast as the space above.
Heaven’s music hums in his ears. He feels it vibrate in his bones. Hears it sing in his soul. The only earthly notes are the splash of a fish and the murmur of a bat-wing. The Milky Way arcs through the sky, dives into the lake, soars underneath him, then lifts from the water in an unending dance.
The kayak drifts beneath the cliff leaning over the water, and the warmth radiating from the granite kisses the tears on his face. From deep within the cliff’s shadow, he senses the first rumors of moon. The steady glow rises behind the ancient fir on the ridge, silhouetting the intricate lace of branch and needle, ornamenting its cones with sparkling sap.
With the moon rises the wind, and he watches as it waltzes across the lake, joyously texturing the moonlit surface. The newborn waves play among the tumbled boulders, their chimes ringing in the silvered air, mystical and enticing.
The moon banishes all but the brightest stars from the sky, and the wind chases even those from the water, but together wind and moon weave a luminescent path toward him, beckoning him back to shore.
He paddles the path, scattering the light with his passage, and comes with a jolt to the land. Rocking between heaven and earth, he steps onto the mud, wraps the impossible beauty around his healing heart and carries it gently into the cabin, past the now vacant armchair, into the dreams of his sleep.