Reflections on an afternoon walk in summer

by Ryan Nardi

Around a pond,
near my small house,
I stop and breathe.
I do not notice when,
but now I am home.

The water ripples here—
there still.
I watch for turtles
as they watch me.
I spy three back upon back
and I wonder
"What are they doing?"

They chase each other,
dive and swirl.
They kick and splash.
Are they playing, courting, fighting?
I do not know.

A patriarch, well hidden,
reveals himself
in a confident, leisurely stroll
from the rough grass and rocks.
He slides into the pond below.
The three we see to investigate?
I do not not know.

The four now circle, swim, and drift.
They take their dancing
underneath and farther out.
I cannot see them now.

Just as if on cue,
a swallow swoops
like a living arrow,
captures my eyes.

He drifts and dives,
and turns on a dime,
frenetic yet graceful.
Stopping time for this poor guy.

The swallow swiftly flips,
button-hook turns around
and dips.
Maybe to snip a dragonfly.
I cannot see, and I do not know.

Suddenly, humanity
comes back to me
and breaks the spell.
“I do not have all day,” I say.
A sin and shame,
but with no blame.
I do not sigh in woe.

I remember to breathe.
I smell the world,
and, for a few fleeting steps,
I am not me;
I am the trees,
and the turtles.
I am the pond.
I am the swallow.
Overgrown clover,
bumble bees,
and reeds.
I am the mud that helps them grow.

The sun is smiling,
while I try to hold onto
what must go.

I smile in my gratitude,
for mindfulness
that, effortless, ensued.

And, calmer now,
I walk home.


Posted on 06/11/2023
Copyright © 2024 Ryan Nardi

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