West Keag

There was a bridge over a narrow part of a tidal river in Maine, called West Keag, or The Keag, or just “The Gig.” Every day for about five hours the water would flow violently in one direction under the bridge. Then there would be a slowing, then a pause and a gathering of lunar energy and impulse, and the water would begin to flow slowly, then faster and faster in the other direction. It was a fascinating thing to watch. A couple of miles from that spot was the cove where I would sneak off season and park by the summer people’s abandoned cotteges to watch the stars. It was the darkest place I had ever been in the US: One of my friends had a panic attack there because it was so dark and quiet, and another friend heard Jesus speak to her for the first time. The only other sound (and the only one that I heard until she screamed) was the gentle ka-thump of the waves on the wall below us. Water looks so deep in the dark, as if “deep” were more than a descriptor but an actual noun, like “the deep.” As if tumbling from the four foot rock wall into the black water would result not in wetness but in a neverending fall, cut off forever from earth and its gravity, subject only to the diurnal pull of the moon and the stars.

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