• Sage Webb

A Night Without Pictures But Not Without Words

While a picture may now warrant a thousand hash tags, and while a tree doesn’t truly fall in the forest unless its photo ends up on Instagram, my biases toward the written word force me to stick stubbornly to the idea that an image can’t do everything. And words at least don’t require Juno or Gingham filters.

So today’s post won’t feature any photos. It will rely only on a full blue moon, a guitar, and a glass or two of wine, shared in the cockpit of a sailboat pulled up to a dock in a warm Southern harbor on Halloween. You won’t see these props, of course, since I’m not posting pics. But maybe you can see them. Perhaps. See how very dark Halloween night is right after midnight, even with that Sleepy Hollow moon overhead. . . .

Sadly, you won’t get to meet the new friends we’ve made. But I’m guessing you know them, people with good stories and ready senses of humor.

Like you’ll probably know the music, too. The guitar notes and the singing that went with them. The love of a George Strait ballad, carried into the night even though not everyone quite knew the words to it. Or the lonesome regrets of guests at a hotel in California from which one can check out but one can never leave. You’d likely know these things . . . recognize them. If you heard them.

I wonder if that moon heard us last night.

The pressed-so-glossy-flat water heard us. But I’m sure it won’t tattle to anyone, won’t tell that we were the source of all the tomfoolery on the dock in the dark. It won’t repeat the stories of childhood or rat us out for a midnight pizza delivery. (I know the water can keep secrets. There’s so much it doesn’t tell.)

So while I won’t show you the way tiny, colored, solar-powered lanterns look hanging over a sailboat’s cockpit when everyone beneath them has forgotten the flaws of the world, I’m not worried. A picture may paint all those thousand words, but couldn’t the words themselves maybe transcend even that painting? Especially when they are sung into a not-cold night toward the end of the year and at the very start of a next day. . . .

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