I drove myself to one of our local metro parks and went silently for a solo walk along the obviously laid out path. It was a sunny day, but not broiling. It was the beginning of the end for summer. The bushes were still haloed with bees and flies, but the flowers looked spent and the leaves were starting to let go. I noticed the path strewn with many yellow looking ones. I stopped and looked closely at everything in my sight, trees, bushes, wildflowers, grasses, rocks and pebbles, candy wrappers, bird crap, whatever. I wasn’t impressed, but neither was I dissatisfied with the experience. It felt good to breathe the air, to walk in silence, to discover the minutes by myself. Then I happened to hear the happy sound of some gushing water coming from somewhere nearby I couldn’t quite pinpoint. I walked on a little further.
That’s when I noticed a small hole in the woods and a winding path inside. It wasn’t very wide, I had to keep my feet somewhat together as I navigated its slippery terrain, but it took me right down to the source of the gurgling sound, a fully functioning, running creek full of beautiful clear water. I was mesmerized. On the opposite bank was a beautiful city of exposed roots. You could let your eye travel all the way up to the canopy of branches and leaves and back down again. That’s when I noticed that there were certain random spots on the river where the light had seeped through the leaves and made a magic circle show below—you could see right down to the bottom where the river-rocks lived, but only where the light hit the water, everywhere else was shuttered by the overflow. It was like looking through the portholes of a submarine.
Just then I got a paranoid thought; what else would like the cool muddy nature of this place, but snakes! I immediately made a lot of clapping and stomping noises, thinking this might possibly scare off any crawling creatures from the vicinity of my ankles. I felt pretty stupid after that and let the sweet gurgling sound of the water return to its proper volume in the sanctity of this sacred place, I kept my mouth shut.
That’s when I noticed the strangest thing in the world. Something chunky and white was floating in several pieces towards me, on the river. At first I thought it must be somebody’s deliberately spilled trash. How dare someone with obviously little or no regard for the environment of their neighbors throw off their unwanted trash piles into this beautiful little magical river of day dreams come true, I thought. What the hell is wrong with people? It was coming at me faster and faster now. I was beginning to make out some of the softening into focus angular shapes. It looked like a box of roses. In fact it was a cardboard boat filled to the brim with cut off white roses! I kid you not. I stood there dumbfounded and delighted as it continued its wayward journey past me and on down the water’s glistening back. I watched until it disappeared from view. Then I left. What do you do after something like that?
Back in my car, I was still smiling. The world is still a mysterious place after all.