by Charles Augustus

“A picnic,” you say. A mischievous gleam has me curious.

“What are you up to?” I tease.

“Right about here,” you chuckle with glee, your hand held to your height.

I surrender with a laugh; it is pointless to prod for more. Reaching out, I take the basket from your hand. The firmness of the rich, woven willow greets me. I take in the square, wicker cradle of our meal and wonder when you had the time.

Without warning, you dash away with a toddler’s delight. I follow, trying to catch up, your infectious laughter filling my senses. Gaining, I slow to make the game last longer, but you have other plans.

You take my hand without a sound, and slowly we walk. I sense warmth, and like a flower to the sun, my gaze turns to you, basking in your radiant smile. The loss I feel when you turn away brings an ache that is almost unbearable.

Early, the sun just rising, the new spring greets with enthusiasm. We share the world around us without desecrating it with words. The earth shifts beneath our feet, releasing its pungent odor; the scent somehow more alive today. With new eyes I view the trees; ancient sentinels standing watch as we move by. I see birds building nests with economy of motion, every action necessary. Two grey squirrels play, racing along branches in a game of seduction. Every vision is a picture of nature racing toward creation.

Somewhere a woodpecker bangs his oak drum, giving cadence to the music of the forest. In the distance, a loon lends his deep woodwind, sad and melodious, to the score. The birds offer counterpoint, filling the staff with muted urgency. A chorus of frogs add horns and round out the pit. As if on cue, you begin to hum, the melody enchanting; it speaks of life and things that grow, and I feel brand new. This piece holds me; a symphony of life.

I watch as you break with the path, leading among the trees, golden locks trailing with the breeze. Your grace makes the simple yellow dress seem a gown fit for royalty, and I feel inadequate.

We press into a hidden glade. My breath catches as Mother Nature reveals a brilliant masterpiece. Her base is the bold green grass, highlighted with vibrant ferns. Surrounding maples add depth and texture, with the cobalt sky as backdrop. The sun spills over the treetops, creating an ethereal cast. You spread the plaid blanket and sit, completing the canvas; it finds perfection.

I face you and place bread and fruit on a plate between us. My eyes find yours and notice you staring. Your joy fills me like a flute with the finest champagne, and I feel blessed that I inspire such happiness. We sit silent, finding our breakfast by touch, lost in each other’s vision. You look away to pour water. I mourn.

I feel your touch and live, Lazarus from the tomb. When our eyes meet again, for an instant I see it; fear mates with hope. Wanting to ease your tension, I tickle you. Without warning, strawberries dance across the blanket as your unfettered laughter soars to the heavens. I sense you’ve had enough when you snuggle close, your head upon my chest, my titillating fingers still.

A moment and you’re gone, so close and yet far away. What fears or flights of fancy pull you from me? Jealousy strikes, lean and fast; I do not wish to share.

In a flurry of words, you find release, anxious in the telling. I sit mute, stunned I’ll be a father. Worlds clash within me and threaten my undoing; with great effort I keep control.

Split with unending pride on one side, sharp fear on the other, I let it sink in. Our child grows! How fitting a discovery amid the vitality I behold. I’m lost in the wonder; time stands alone.

A shift in your form hauls me back. Your hope is gone and I’m shaken. Realization strikes, and my eyes brim. My smile softens the edges of your fear. The time for strength is gone; it is time for expression now. My gentle kiss speaks, my tears adding emphasis; I love you they whisper.

© 2009 Charles Augustus. All rights reserved.

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