Today is one of those perfect late spring, early summer days. When I am too much indoors, I crave getting outside. My eyes need to look out over long distances, my lungs need to inspire and expire fresh air, my skin needs a touch of sun, and my whole being hungers to be magnetized by the quality of stillness and life on the observation deck of the vernal pond off Buttonbush Bridge.
It is warm and sunny and very breezy. There is very low humidity, which is rare around here. Once my scooter wheels rumble over the wooden decking, I pull into the corner by the fence, and turn off the motor. The wind is strong, whooshing the leaves of all the trees surrounding the pond. We know that trees communicate with one another in an arboreal community. If there is a threat from parasites, it has been observed that one tree will take on the assualt so that other nearby trees may continue to thrive. They “talk” by chemical messaging through the fungal “internet” of tiny filaments. Around the pond in this environment, I imagine them singing out loud to one another. I may not understand the words of their language, but I gladly share the gusts of song as they are wildly dancing.
The pond is rippled into a million sparks, snapping along the surface. Leaves, seeds and small twigs are carried into the dark brew. There is the lone goose egg left behind on Mother Goose’s abandoned nest. The water rose so high from rain this year, that underneath the diminishing nest circumference, the excess water most likely suffocated the goslings in their eggshells. I saw the gander mating with her two weeks ago, but they seem to have left this pond. Perhaps they will raise another clutch elsewhere?
When I settle down more into the rhythms of the pond life, I now spy two turtles sunning on a mound of slithery weeds. The sun beats down on their glistening black shells and a tiny plop turns my attention to the larger turtle disappearing into the brink. The younger one pokes out its head and tries to gain puchase on the slimy surface to follow suit. It starts to gain traction but slithers down sideways, and then, it is also gone.
The breeze quiets, and a tiny maple seed pod perfectly helicopters all the way down to the weeds beside me. A frog trills. Birds dart around and dip in and out for a fluttering bath.
I finally arrive at pond silence. I close my eyes against the hot sun, allowing the whispering air to cool me. I am christened by gratitude. I am overcome by a deep sorrow for the inevitable destruction we have invoked for our dear great planet. I am lying at the bottom of the pond muck. I am transformed into food for invisible organisms. I am subsumed by silence, nested beneath the clay bottom of this pond, in this moment.
Another resident arrives, pushed in a wheelchair by her grandson who I am told is an oboist for the Philadelphia? orchestra. I couldn’t quite hear her as the wind carried her words away. He is young and fresh-faced, and clearly loves his grandmother who is so proud of him.