Susan Marsh reflects on a moment spent listening to a glacial lake in her essay, “The Moose, the Dragonfly, and Me,” in this year’s issue of Deep Wild Journal: Writing from the Backcountry.
“This glacial lake is fed by snowfields whose meltwater drops
in a series of cascades. From a game trail that winds down the
mountainside beside them, the creek’s spray transforms sunlight
into rainbows, and the clamor of water falling on bare rock is
enormous. From the far lakeshore I cannot see the creek at all. Its
sounds drift my way in intermittent murmurs.
“Closing my eyes to listen, I follow my thoughts the way I once
followed that game trail. My mind wanders back to a summer
afternoon, memories arriving as images—blooming balsamroot,
mountain heather, polished stone cradling white foam. The scent
of sun-warmed snowbush on the breeze.
“When I open my eyes the dragonfly is busy cleaning its
mouthparts. The sun has moved, and a glimmer strikes its
transparent wings, catching the light and throwing it back in tiny
rainbows, a miniature reprise of the prisms made by creek spray.
Like that summer day when I rambled down a discontinuous game
trail, this moment feels like a gift, as if the boulder, the lake, and
the dragonfly have invited me to join them in repose. I cease to
exist as someone separate from this wild place: I am no more, and
perhaps much less, than the dragonfly that shares this boulder.
Leaving my companion to its grooming, I close my eyes again to
watch the insides of my eyelids glowing red with the brief infusion
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