Lines of Light

By Clara Mae Barnhart

January 23, 2017

Lines of Light
At sunset in Burlington the power lines are golden like the afterglow of sparklers when children twirl them in the air. A frayed ribbon of sunlight stretches out onto Lake Champlain. You can feel the energy thrumming, see it light up people’s eyes.

When I was a child I liked to squint at street lamps at night because it makes them look like eight-pointed stars. We walked around late in our little village. In the summer we would dodge the toads on the sidewalk in the soft copper glow. Our cat would follow us everywhere. She would dash in front of cars for fun, a streak of Calico in the muted headlights under lamps buzzing with May flies.

My mother and her father once had a conversation about the afterlife. She said, “When you go you need to find a way to let me know when you’re around.”

“When I was a kid,” he said, “I’d run around town at night and throw rocks at the gas lamps to black out the town. When you’re walking the dogs I’ll darken the street lights above you.”

He died not long after. When she was walking alone under the lights late that summer she asked him out loud to make the next three go out. People must have thought her drunk, the way she was hunched over in the dark, choked up and muttering, “I love you, I love you, I love you."


Photo ”Sunset" by by Andy Fridman, via Flickr's Creative Commons license.
Comments (4) - Post a Comment
With the magnetic power of precise and compelling prose, I'm drawn into this scene: the omniscient love, the moving players, the magic of memory, moment and light, and lingering now in the afterglow.
Angela von Werder at 12:13pm EST - January 23, 2017
Lovely. Incandescent.
Catherine Klatzker at 12:24pm EST - January 23, 2017
This is a marvel of lightness to dark and back again to light. Brimming with detail, it ends deftly and deeply with heart. I loved it!
Annie at 5:18pm EST - January 23, 2017
This is so beautiful. I've read it over and over and cry at the end every single time.
Linda G. White at 11:53am EST - February 10, 2017


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