I stand naked before the mirror and admire the return of my summer skin;
pale pink above my breasts and bronze in over lapping layers of straps and sleeves. Muscles form and re-form in a progression down the length of my arms.
The silt washes off in a torrent of mud mixed with the sweet scent of soap;
my hair once again bright as the moon; casting off the dullness of the day in its many layers of sweat, grime and sunshine.
My toes will not be clean again until the leaves fall from the trees in their cascade of relief and exhaustion, as summer wanes and autumn embraces us with darkness.
Next to the sink, I study the black of my hat. Its surface a rainbow of textures; an oil soaked and sleek band fades into bleached and brittle edges. A history and a reflection of my unconscious habit of removing it and reapplying it over and over as I struggle to shield my eyes from the light....my fingerprints are nearly visible on the brim. Like my toes, my fingers will bear the burden of the season; rough and frayed corners, calluses, and healed-over blisters.
From head to toe, I am amused by my appearance and I contemplate Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth. I remember my mother, grandmothers, great-grand mothers. I look into my own eyes and see eternity laid out before me.
I am the one that arrives with dirt in the cuffs, spots, stains and small tears.I am a woman of beauty; a creature of struggle, persistence and undying optimism. I am the light that is not seen and only felt. I am starlight and madness. I am the womb of creation. I am all of these things. I am dust.