A Perfect Day
Some days are almost crystalline in the memory: they shine like diamonds in the blue perspective of the distant past,
a broken branch lit
by gray-green lichens
New Year's day, 1981, was like that. I spent the day with my future wife, Joyce, wandering around the Eno River in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The weather was perfect for January in the South—clear with a pale, yellow sun and temperatures in the mid-50s. Chilly but pleasant.
We explored the oak and maple forests bordering the river, admiring its stark, wintry beauty, and happy with each others' middle-aged company. We pointed out birds' nests and the occasional larger, leafy squirrel's homes in the bare boughs. Always, the river was a strong background presence, winding through stone outcroppings and sandy shores.