Coming out of the pond, no need to towel off
by Ken Nye
in this warm afternoon sun.
I'll hike up through the orchard
on Grandpa’s favorite trail.
(He loved to carve paths with his tractor,
his way of reclaiming the forest.)
I slip on my sneakers
and start up the path,
alone with my thoughts.
The freshly mown grass cushions my tread
as I soundlessly move up the hill.
I hear bees in blueberry blossoms,
a crow in the hollow, yelling at owls.
Otherwise, hardly a sound.
At the top, I follow the path
down the back of the hill
where it loops in return to the barn.
The apple trees here are competing with pines.
More confined than the orchard on top.
Following the trail, I step 'round a pine
as a fawn steps 'round the next apple.
We meet face to face and instantly freeze.
The only discernible movement -
his nose, twisting and flaring like mad,
seeking a hint of what I am.
I study him.
No more than a day or two old,
speckled with spots,
he is, like all babies,
a beautiful miniature.
Hooves, tiny and perfectly shaped.
Slender, taughtly strung legs.
Hankie sized white tail
ready to flash the signal to run
should I move.
Ears, turned to pick up my sound.
Eyes, like marbles, taking me in.
Everything about him, flawless.
I am struck by the splendor of
slanting through branches,
to bless this child,
using all of his senses to ask who I am.
Feeling kinship with him, I wish we could touch
but know that our worlds won't allow it.
We stand for what seems a very long time,
and then off to the right, from behind a thick pine,
comes a clearly audible snort.
The fawn turns and steps through the pine boughs,
heading off with his mom to the gully.
I am in awe of what just happened -
still trailing clouds of glory,
this purely innocent baby being
looked in my eyes
and weighed my goodness.