A memory of childhood
I was a boy living deep down in the American South.
The house, though open to the air, was often sultry. My room of a summer morning smelled of my own stale sweat.
Living on a mountain as we did, and in the middle of a forest, I had a frequent escape.
Still in my pyjamas, I would slip out my window and pick my way barefoot down a game trail into a hidden rill.
The sun would reach for me through leafy cover and stab me with fiery knives.
At the end of the trail lay my favorite place on earth.
A perfect, round, rock-rimmed little pool bubbled and chattered, fed by an icy spring.
I'd poke all around with a broomstick I kept handy, just to scare away any lurking snakes. Then I'd strip off, toe my way over mossy rock, and lower myself into that fresh, chilled bath.
I didn't drink coffee in those days.
I didn't need it. What a perfect start to a fiery summer day.
Sometimes, even now, I close my eyes and I hear that spring bubbling away. I hear the birds, and I hear a warm wind whistling through pine needles that smell of Christmas.
I feel the cold sluice the night's sweat from my skin, and I smile.