Sunday, January 21, 2007


After the long absence of sunlight,
many urban users venture eagerly outside.
From the moonlight tower on Eastside Drive,
one can see down a hill, away from the stre
et, a stream.
The water flows energetically, refreshed after the days of rain.

Birds flock into the brook to wash themselves.
Branches of fallen trees and litter conceal them
until they flutter away as humans approach.

Healthy joggers cross the water by footbridge,
barely noticing its presence, locked inside their focus,
hearing only breathing, footsteps, and the music in their ears.

Soon the explorers come on a sunny Sunday stroll.
The young family notices the stream.
The mother smiles at her baby;
the father takes their son off the path,
onto rocks that lie on the stream bed.
asks the boy. “Do you see the water?”
his parents ask encouragingly. “Wa?”
The father lifts his boy and carries him across the stream,

carefully stepping on rocks to avoid getting his shoes wet.
Before long the group heads back the way they came,
glad they had the chance to experience something new.

A small, black puppy and her trainers laugh
coming down the hill.
The puppy wants to investigate the water;
her trainers find the ledge to be a good spot to begin their work.
After the puppy satisfies her nose, she turns back expectantly.
The trainers ask her to come and to sit, then pet her joyously.
The puppy wags its tail. When all three grow tired,
they run back up the hill and rest on a bench,

watching the river and congratulating the puppy on a job well done.

The recycler appears with her dog.
She walks slowly along the stream,

only a foot away from the water,
her dog obediently beside her. She quietly bends down
and begins to fill her plastic bag with litter from the ground,
lifting her head slightly to keep her broad-brimmed hat still.
She continues to walk,
bending down every step to pick up something new.
Her dog sniffs, trying to help her keep the shore clean.
When her bag is full, she stands and begins her return,
going as slowly as she came, wondering if anyone will notice.

The researcher, satisfied with her findings,
walks slowly up to the moonlight tower.
She studies it, photographs it,
and then turns around.
She walks back along the water to the bridge,
reluctant to leave. With a few last clicks of her camera,
she jots down final notes, and retreats up the hill toward the street.

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