The wind had picked up since earlier in the day when the windsurfers had trouble staying in motion, but nobody was on the water now. It was coming on dinner time, and people had moved on to yard games. The kids had all found friends, somebody else’s kids who they saw once a year, most years. My wife was talking to different people every time I found her, a beer in her hand and a smile on her face.
I’d worn myself out earlier in the lake, playing with the kids and playing water volleyball, mostly with people who were younger and in better shape than me, but it was a game for everyone. The late-afternoon not quite late summer sun had started to head toward the horizon to the southwest, and everything except a few white fluffy clouds in the distance was blue and green, the colors popping against each other like an apotheosis of life.
My headphones filled my ears with the words and music of John Prine singing about Lake Marie. That man had insights into the truth of being alive that few I knew about could match, and somehow Covid took him and left that monster who had been President. Further evidence that no benevolent deity could ever exist was not necessary. Whether there were no gods or whether they existed and were capricious and cruel was a mystery the universe had not chosen to reveal.
I took this all in, the kids and my wife and the sky and the laughter and the music and the breeze and the water and the beer, and I thought what a wonderful day this was. And I thought about the dark buzzing sound that gnawed at the base of my brain. The sadness that blew in, but not on the breeze. The pain that filled the earth and the sky and the water and the people like a luciferous ether.