It starts with the self. I’m tired. There’s a raw spot on my left foot where a bit of gravel worked its way under the sandal strap this afternoon.
One yard out, everything’s alright. The dog’s at my feet, exhausted from a day hiking and fishing and swimming and exploring.
Five yards out, glowing embers from a smoldering campfire. Dinner’s finished.
Ten yards out it’s a glorious evening, maybe the last nice weekend until September. Fireflies in the understory make long, swooping paths; the ones in the canopy flicker and fly rapidly among the branches. There’s a northern parula
Fifty yards out, two young couples have set up their campsite. They’re well behaved, quiet, keep to themselves.
A hundred yards out, cricket frogs chirp at the pond’s margin, interspersed with the hoarse grunting of bullfrogs. Two more weeks and they’ll be cleaned out by giggers, probably.
Two hundred yards out, a drunk across the pond is blaring the same Cher song for the second time in twenty minutes.
So you work your mind backwards: back across the pond, to the frogs, to the fireflies, the warblers fading into whipporwhills, the rising moon off your right, the coolness of air wafting downhill against the back of your neck.