Red Bottle, 2009
It was unseasonably warm here in coastal Virginia this past weekend. I spent most of Saturday working in the yard, pruning bushes, mulching flowerbeds, raking leaves and cleaning up the thousands of acorns that carpet nearly every horizontal surface in our back yard.
By 4:00 p.m., I was tired. I took a book I’ve been trying to finish out onto the back porch and, as often happens when I settle into a comfortable chair after a lot of physical activity, I was soon nodding off to sleep.
For me, one of the great sleep pleasures is a nap on the back porch on a breezy day. (Rainy days aren’t bad, either.) This past Saturday all of the stars were aligned. It was sunny and the temperature was in the upper 70s. A consistent breeze was blowing out of the South. The trees and leaves swayed gently back and forth. Light reflected off the river in the distance. The little frogs that have managed to evade our resident snake were hopping around on the lily pads in the little pond just outside the porch.
I don’t know if it was the book about the rebirth of urban democracy, the fatigue from an honest day’s labor or the gentle breeze. Between the three, I dozed happily with the knowledge that all was under control and that nobody expected anything from me for an hour or two.
When I awoke, a cold front was starting to push through the area. As the clouds flew by the sky was alternately overcast and shining brightly. The dull gray of the clouds flattened the colors of everything around me. But when the sun peeked through the light was vivid, creating sharp lines and shadows.
That’s when I noticed how the sunlight seemed to set the little red bottle with the fish head stopper, above, afire. Everywhere I turned my head a line or a shadow or a color caught my eye.