As many days as I can, I walk by the River Deben near my home. Sometimes I walk with someone, but often I walk alone. Alone, the experience is different, opened up differently. It becomes a quiet form of prayer – one which begins with an openness, a question
– Hello, what is there that I need to notice today?
Alone becomes companionable, the openness becomes openness to one who is always there.
I look at the birds of the air, among other things, although, this day, it was more the birds of the water.
It seemed to me as I watched the cormorants that the growing darkness of the season was maybe something I needed to dive into, under the bright surface, that there was treasure even here, even here.
If you wish, you can listen to the poem.
Now, as the days of darkness come
Now, as the days of darkness come,
I see the slick oily surface of the water,
low light skims it like bright stones,
as the geese arrive in broken, twisted skeins.
And there is the egret
in its startling whiteness,
probing the mud,
and a pair of cormorants,
dark as pitch,
forming their strange low circles.
Then, as I watch, they slip down beneath
the bright surface, into hidden water.
And I, too, I hold my breath,
while they are hidden, in wonder
at the unexpected airiness of their bodies,
sustaining them, in that cold water, for so long.