Kate Knapp Johnson
It is the summer bears ruled, the last summer of pure breathlessness when I moved unaware, taken in by the netted branches of raspberries, held in trance by the sweet air of the orchards. My grandfather died at home one night in early July as expected, and the white clouds drifted like snow on the face of the black lake. Grandmother swept her porch clean, every morning pushed grief under the railings like wisps of an old bird's nest. Together we watched the she-bear heave both bins of garbage across the red clay road, her cubs somersaulting each other, never minding their mother's cautioning strikes. It is the summer I was on the brink of seeing some unexperienced light, although I stood in darkness, or swam in spools of dark while everything was bright around; the gold lilies and their shadows flickered one on one and the two swans stayed faithful and fierce in their cove. I was twelve and though I knew language I did not know the meaning of things-- I lived within a lattice of time, unhurt, undifferentiated, so that even in remembering now there is only the singular quality of that time itself; while I was there, in its duration, I was possessed, wind-mastered as the scrolled fields of clouds and disappointed when the spell was broken and the real snow came, and the cold.