Eguanulti means “light on the water”, waters reached
by threading through jungle growth to descend to the river. Trees studded
with airplants twist like sideshow contortionists, branches gesticulating.
Cypress tower overhead, shaggy palms lean flat out over the river, bearded
with ferns like giant tire treads, heads spiraling to the east. Banana
spiders, mammoth asterisks in a brazen sky, span the river with their
webs. Each visit to Eguanulti shows changes; more palm trunks fallen
in the water, weeds sprouting off the stump, the inexorable pull of
the swanp. as more lean out to take their place. A smokescreen for the
essential: at Eguanulti, where the black waters of Spruce Creek meet
the muddy banks, the enormous energy of the swamp condenses at the microcosm
of the water’s edge, in a chalkline of miniature lights and movement.
The translucent world of the water’s edge glows in the eternal jungle
twilight. Even in the midday sun, Eguanulti is sullen and brooding.
The air is still and heavy. At first nothing moves, even the river surface
betrays no current, constellations of particles are held taut, like
stars trapped in the tension of the water’s surface. The popping and
sucking sounds of bream touching the surface. A strange mewling sound
in the dark woods. A giant bubble of swamp gas erupts on the water’s
surface. The shoreline is caked with gloom, the only light a reflection
off the oily banks. Cicadas sigh uneasily, all the twilit estuaries
rise and fall with the giant breath of the swamp. The river bank a receding
soft blackness, dark earth glistens when the sumbeam hits it. The beam
of light probes and passes on, picking out minute roots; brilliant green
shoots, flames in the darkness; mahogany and purple shadows in port
wine waters. Ellipses of reddish amber in the surrounding blackness.
All life appears and is extinguished as the slow searchlight beam of
the sun passes along the bank. Now the light changes, locusts sigh more
intensely, thrumming in a frenzied chorale. The sun, low in the sky,
angles into the water’s edge, up to the baleen of millions of roots,
its subtle grin filtering the dark waters where they meet the earth.
The spotlight turns on the smallest of events: a fidget in the shallows,
an alligator gar eyes me. A mossy cypress knee, a feather stuck to the
end of it. The elephant ear bends, a gymnastic of yellow and green,
the leaf crumpled in the water. A dusky blush, a bloom of light on the
surface, a blur of rapid motion. A small lochness monster trawls miniature
tunnels on the bottom. Minnows race around a glistening log in a moire
of sharp shadows. In the reflection of the sky overhead, a design pools
in oily richness. A translucent spider fingers a leaf, a slim root projects
from the shallows. The tip crawls with thousands of insects. A spider
lily, a small white burst in the darkness, blooms in the void. All along,
the reflection of arcs. pinpoints and trajectories of light marks the
seam where earth and water meet.