THE STORY OF A DAY
It is really not much, the story; it is only the arrangement of it, as we would say of our dresses and our drawing-rooms.
It began with the dawn, of course; and the skiff for our voyage, silvered with dew, waiting in the mist for us, as if it had floated down in a cloud from heaven to the bayou. When repeated, this sounds like poor poetry; but that is the way one thinks at day dawn, when the dew is yet, as it were, upon our brains, and our ideas are still half dreams, and our waking hearts, alas! as innocent as waking babies playing with their toes.
Our oars waked the waters of the bayou, as motionless as a sleeping snake under its misty covert—to continue the poetical language or thought. The ripples ran frightened and shivering into the rooty thicknesses of the sedge-grown banks, startling the little birds bathing there into darting to the nearest, highest rush-top, where, without losing their hold on their swaying, balancing perches, they burst into all sorts of incoherent songs, in their excitement to divert attention from the near-hidden nests: bird mothers are so much like women mothers!
It soon became day enough for the mist to rise. The eyes that saw it ought to be able to speak to tell fittingly about it.
Not all at once, nor all together, but a thinning, a lifting, a breaking, a wearing away; a little withdrawing here, a little withdrawing there; and now a peep, and now a peep; a bride lifting her veil to her husband! Blue! White! Lilies! Blue lilies! White lilies! Blue and white lilies! And still blue and white lilies! And still! And still! Wherever the veil lifted, still and always the bride!
Not in clumps and bunches, not in spots and patches, not in banks, meadows, acres, but in—yes; for still it lifted beyond and beyond and beyond; the eye could not touch the limit of them, for the eye can touch only the limit of vision; and the lilies filled the whole sea-marsh, for that is the way spring comes to the sea-marshes.
The sedge-roots might have been unsightly along the water’s edge, but there were morning-glories, all colors, all shades—oh, such morning-glories as we of the city never see! Our city morning-glories must dream of them, as we dream of angels. Only God could be so lavish! Dropping from the tall spear-heads to the water, into the water, under the water. And then, the reflection of them, in all their colors, blue, white, pink, purple, red, rose, violet!
To think of an obscure little Acadian bayou waking to flow the first thing in the morning not only through banks of new-blown morning-glories, but sown also to its depths with such reflections as must make it think itself a bayou in heaven, instead of in Paroisse St. Martin. Perhaps that is the reason the poor poets think themselves poets, on account of the beautiful things that are only reflected into their minds from what is above? Besides the reflections, there were alligators in the bayou, trying to slip away before we could see them, and watching us with their stupid, senile eyes, sometimes from under the thickest, prettiest flowery bowers; and turtles splashing into the water ahead of us; and fish (silver-sided perch), looking like reflections themselves, floating through the flower reflections, nibbling their breakfast.