I am melting.
It is 34 freaking degrees Celcius at high noon, on a floating, wooden dock. Summer burns the fire. The dark water below opens its glittering mouth, and I slither in: wannabe amphibian in a freshwater lake.
I sizzle in the cool.
The bottom rises up to embrace my form, tall grasses whisper and circle my arms and legs like the long, wavy hair I spun when I was a girl. Mud oozes between my toes and I lift off. Algae kisses everywhere.
Was it the weed I ate, or is this all a dream?
There is little danger, there are no sharks or other predators in a mountain lake. In the crisp, murky water I grew up in, we roam far and we roam free. In or out of our bathing suit.
My friend F dives in and crawls ahead. With bushy hair and a hipster beard, he had been drowning in sweat. I can feel the current shudder with pleasure and relief.
I plunge in, after him, breathing underwater, I was a fish in another life, another dream-
A mournful howl rises.
F and I jump out of our reverie, our skin and turn to face-
A noble, aquatic bird, sitting on the surface of the water, fifteen feet away.
I am a loon, she says, spreading her wings.
F and I gawk. We can’t believe our eyes. We can’t believe this wild creature has graced us. From the shadowy depths, an aristocrat.
A cry spirals out of her throat and soars over the lapping waves. Its piercing soul grows my heart and thrills the air.
Who are you? she wails.
F turns to me for an answer, but there are no words. My entire being is floating, and I convulse. I laugh and I laugh, without a shred of reserve, I roar, from the flooding gutter of my very depths, from a place beyond the brain I didn’t know before.
F cracks; can’t resist the lure, he busts it out, and we all, we beasts, become a choir.
The mountains rjng. The lake is a starry sky. Without a thought in our heads, the mystery of life is ours.
FLASH: Put on your earbuds, press play…
Soundscape: Ned Bouhalassa
Video: Brenda Keesal
Special thanks to François, Eminé, Marino, Lac Renaud and our beloved Laurentian mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, just outside Montreal.
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