Mars and a Reflection of Mars

By Carolee Bennett

September 5, 2016

Mars and a Reflection of Mars

“There are two red planets tonight,” I say. And you reply, “What a brave universe.” And I feel brave. Two 30-lb packs hang near the tent we pitched just before it got dark enough to need headlamps. It’s Night One of this backpacking trip, and I’m an amateur, clumsy at everything, even walking. But right now, we are the only humans on the peninsula at Pharaoh Lake. And we divvy up the skies between us: one for me and one for you. The night’s so black stars reflect on the lake. Mars, too.

And like tiny robot explorers, June bugs buzz our shoulders and zoom around our faces just as our own insect-like machines navigate ocean floors and galaxies. There’s a top and a bottom. A down below. An up above. A loon cries out to its mate, a beautiful weakness in the sound. And the answer. My own loneliness more like foghorn or train whistle. Or the way tires rumble over a bridge. “Don’t forget me when you get across,” I think about those who go ahead.

The next day on the trail, I call to you a dozen times to wait up, my heart thumping in my chest from the weight and the climb. Your heart struggles, too, in its own dark space. As we rest, we note on the map here, where everything – heavy breath, swarming mosquitoes, tall spruce and a brood of grouse – circles a pair of pulsing red planets the size of fists.


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Comments (7) - Post a Comment
Wonderful way to start a week. I find this piece haunting. Thank you Carolee.
Claudia Geagan at 8:45am EDT - September 5, 2016
Gorgeous. Takes me back to Canada, not sure if that's where it's set. Thank you.
Jane at 10:00am EDT - September 5, 2016
Thank you Carolee. Your piece awakened the mystery in me, and the abiding wonder, fear and longing contained in it.
Stevie at 10:44am EDT - September 5, 2016
Stunningly captivating and beautiful! What a gem! Your prose assures me that "all the best writers" are not deceased. What a pleasure!
Vana Plaisance at 12:20pm EDT - September 5, 2016
Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad it resonates with you. Oh! & Jane, the piece was set in the Pharoah Lakes Wilderness, which is in the Adirondacks (NY).
Carolee at 2:57pm EDT - September 5, 2016
Laurie Easter at 5:45pm EDT - September 5, 2016
Wonderful. Loved it!
Julianne VanPraag at 7:10pm EDT - September 7, 2016

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