I create for myself the perfect paintbrush, long, unfinished wood*chokes* handle, bleached almost white with time. Perfect blonde bristle brush, fine as baby hair. I mentally twirl my tongue around it, swirling it into a perfectly tapered point, and eye my canvas speculatively.
These trees. Sycamores, cypress and pines, with the occasional willow thrown in for grace. They stretch, up up up in all their scraggly glory. The spanish moss drips in wisps and clumps, like the neglected beards of dirty old men. Bits of yellowish green and greenish yellow bite through, insisting that these grays and browns of winter are a thing of the past.
There is a mist hanging over the river, that filters the reality of the houseboats, give them a romantic feel. Someone is burning bits of wood, and pinecones, and probably beer cartons, if truth be told. The smoke mingles with the mist and clings to my clammy skin.
The river vibrates. I watch it for hours. Schools of minnows shimmer just beneath the surface, silvery bright, reflecting the fingers of sunlight that manage to peep through the gloom. Out of the corner of my eye, the alligator gars break the surface of the water. I try to catch them at it, but they are usually too fast-I only catch a glimpse of their sleek bodies arcing through the dive. Their beaks are elusive, long, like swordfish, but blunted, fast as lightening. Did I really see that, or was it my imagination? Always, always on the edge of vision, they repeat the dance, over and over, playing with my head.
I throw a slice of bread in the water. Flashes and splashes of blue and orange as the water boils with brim. The sounds as they hit the bread are like sucking kisses, wet and somehow sexual. This wakes the turtles, who stick their huge, fistlike heads up, demanding that I hold their bread, so they can eat it at their leisure, free of the pesky fish. They bite off chunks and gulp it down, soggy bits swirling around them in the water until the minnows surround them to bat cleanup.
There is no stillness, no silence. The birds outside fight to be heard over the birds inside, the frogs sing, the wind in the branches is susurrous, and I look around, trying to figure out what direction it is coming from. Then it hits me. It is coming at me from all sides. Life, like this river. I'm in it up to my neck.