Blue Afternoon: The Middle Distance
I need more light now than when I was young, holding books at that middle distance to let bifocals do their work. As a result I find myself, when I look up from the page, gazing unfocused into something I can’t quite see the name for. It takes a moment, now, to make the shift from close detail, from the word, to whatever’s out the window. Summer at the beach, I am rapt with distance, book on the sand beside me while I stare and stare not at the lace of waves or shells that wash in and drift back out a few times before depositing themselves quietly below the tideline, but at the blue on blue horizon line, the faint haze that obscures the farthest ships, the Boston skyline I saw once on the clearest afternoon, or thought I did. I stare at nothing with a form, at a whisper, at a fade from blue to gray to duller blue then blue again. I don’t know what it is I think I see but there is plenty of it, this light, every light, the long blue afternoon, my eyes at rest past the struggle of the middle distance, past the insect words that quiver on the page, past everything but light and light itself, beyond the blurred horizon and all the visible names of things.