Have you ever tried really hard to remember something? A detail, the curve of someone’s smile, the sound of their laugh, the smell in the air the last night you saw them. So hard that you closed your eyes and meditated only on the small piece of memory that you could muster? I’ve begged my psyche, “take me to that memory, take me to that moment, just let me be there for the smallest second. Then sometimes it really works. Imagine, if you will, you are riding passenger in a car, your eyes are closed but the brightness of the street lamps still passes through your lids marking your distance. Orange warmth dilating your pupils under the small flaps then darkness..almost at a rhythmic pace. Flash..flash..flash..that is how the memories come back to me.

The wind carries the smell of honeysuckle and dew and the grass is wet and cool under my feet. The buckles on my leather sandals jingle, just a little, as I walk through the large open field under a cover of complete darkness. Complete darkness except the veil is pierced with millions of little sparkles. It is as if the Lady Night has adorned her best shimmering dress for us on this midsummers night. Above me, the dress lays motionless with only its adornments twinkling to the music made by the night creatures. Tree frogs, crickets, a rain crow --- who is mispredicting the weather because Lady Night’s dress holds not a single rain cloud. Nothing but pure blackness resides behind the sparkles.

For a moment I ponder the peacefulness, but during that time in my life, pondering was fleeting. My feet find pavement and I stop to replace the jingling sandals back on my feet. My skin is still tingly from a day in the hot sun, feeling as if I should emit my own light from the rays I had gathered during that day. I wander farther into the darkness with not one thought of fear about what may be lurking in the dense shadows of the trees that line the road. Only anticipation..and a mist of adrenaline that followed me as I crept from the window of my bedroom. My parents slept in the room upstairs with a loud fan that drowned any sound from my bedroom below. They slumbered peacefully never knowing of my adventures.

I could barely see in front of me beyond twenty feet. And sometimes the eyes play tricks as they try to adjust to the darkness. But I believe I see motion, another figure emerging, approaching, coming nearer to me. Again, no fear..but my heart rate does speed up in hope that it is the figure I’m seeking. A new smell and large rattle…hot oil being pumped from the well to the right of me, and a busy oil rig not discriminating against the time. The smell is gritty, earthy and familiar. Telling me I am almost there.

The figure is beginning to grow in front of me and the motion is deliberate. The shapeless blob of blackness transforms into an almost recognizable figure walking, stepping closer at a steady pace. It is who I am looking for, no one else would be wandering the road at this hour of the night, this a few minutes beyond midnight. All responsible people lay sleeping and dreaming of the next days work. Summertime in the country was no time for laziness. There were fields to be tended, animals to be fed and watered, and the people of this area rested hard after a day in that life.

Close enough now, I can see blonde curls and blue eyes with the hint of a crooked smile. I’m sure my mouth is curved in response. I know we spoke to each other. We talked all the time, about dreams and the future, anything we could think of to chatter about. But right now, the words escape me. I can only re-project the feeling of the dewy air against my mildly sunburned skin, the smell of the wet grass and oilrig, and the sounds of our serenading creatures. Oh and the stars, that were always burning a constant glow, even on this night when there was no moon.

Woosh..flash..there it is. The curve of his face, the smell of his hair…oh but only just for a moment. If I were an artist I could surely grasp that image and splash it on to canvas, but instead I must rely on the memory of my mind’s eye to recall without the luxury of being able to stop the memory at just that moment when he came close enough on that night to make out his face in the darkness. Just a flash, a glimmer..then darkness.

He turns and we begin walking in the same direction, hand in hand now. His hands were always so strong and he held on to mine firmly. I could feel the calluses from his day in the hay field with his father. He always worked very hard. But that never made any difference to my father who loathed the boy. I never understood why. But now, with a teenage child of my own I know the sickness that comes to the pit of your stomach when you see that look in their eye and know that again you will have to let go just a little bit more. It makes a parent dread the sight of their child’s object of affection. And perhaps there is a pang of remorse as you realize you are no longer the center of their universe.

Quietly we pad our way further into the darkness until we find the small slightly overgrown trail that will lead us through the trees. It looks so magical at night. Much different than its daytime appearance. I had walked the path at both times and found the paths night appearance to be much more enchanting. Sometimes, when the moon illuminated it just right, I could almost make out Shakespeare’s Puck peeking from behind the trees. On this moonless night, it seemed as if Puck was hidden well from my eyes. I was glad I had walked the path so often, because I couldn’t see more than a few steps in front of me.

We followed our senses to the end of the path that opened into a large opening in the trees. Here we found the warm waters of the pond waiting. The songs of the creatures grew louder. Maybe on this night we didn’t speak, I can’t remember a single word. Not even a giggle, just the chirping the constant and steady chirping that silenced only for a moment as we drew closer to the water. I could feel the creatures looking upon us determining what we were and our purpose. Silencing themselves for protection, until they realized we meant them no harm. And then, their song would begin again.

The water sparkled under the reflection of Lady Night’s gown. But upon the water, the Lady danced. The water rippled and her gown flowed as if she were entertaining at a ball, swirling and churning to the song of the creatures.

Woosh..flash…again..his face a short smile that held the impishness of a dare followed by a small splash as he entered the water. Ah, I remember my giggle in response, as he knew I would never turn down a dare. My sandals jingled once more against the moist dirt surrounding the water. Quickly my clothes were draped upon a tree limb.

The water slipped across my shoulders like warm silk. There was not even a chill, it was so smooth and soft as if residing in a large bathtub. Was a bit of an eerie feeling, not knowing what lies below you in the water or above you in the air so I only focused on one thing. Swimming closer to his body to find his eyes again. And there they sparkled like the stars upon the water, waiting, smiling..and was gone.

Sometimes memories just come in flashes like that, uncontrollable of the quantity no matter how hard you try.