These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they
are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.
— Walt Whitman
The summer and fall evenings in rural Kentucky contain a magical moment, between dusk and darkness. Twilight hangs a beautiful painting, where the ground is black but the earth is faintly lit with a diffused glow, as if the very land itself made a sleepy final attempt at keeping the day alive before the fireflies drain the last vestiges of its energy and drape it in the mood for its dark slumber. In these brief moments, the many cistern pools dotting the landscape stand in stark relief from the dark earth, shimmering with an unearthly silver pallor, as if you could walk their edges and peer into their depths and see the swirling chaos of distant worlds, or of ages long forgotten, or of a time that is yet to be.
These transient glimpses that transform the landscape into some other thing intoxicate me. In high school, I would often hop in my pickup truck when these little five-minute windows would occur and cruise the area, hoping to see the delicate interplay of light and shadow one more time. Often I mistimed it, or the weather wasn't just right, but if I'm honest with myself, I mostly used these times to be alone with my thoughts — in the middle of nowhere, only tenuously attached to civilization, driving with the windows down and listening to the crickets chirping at sunset.
These fleeting moments are so ethereal that they slip into that type of remembrance where I would wake up the next morning and wonder if it even happened at all, or if I had just dreamed it. Or maybe I stepped through a shimmering pool into another world very much like my own. Who knows? I experienced those moments alone, in the middle of nowhere, with no one to corroborate the encounter. As I grow older I find that many of life's most precious experiences are felt this way: in ephemeral memories, moments that are recalled through feeling more than remembered vividly in detail. All memories fade to this soft pallor eventually, but this special class of memory is conceived in elusive gradients.