augury doggerel

Tuesday, August 27, 2002


This afternoon on an empty dirt road through the woods � red squirrels leaping and spiders hanging still � I crouched by a rut from the wheels of a forester�s truck. It had filled with brown water and living things.

A small soft frog, king of the local predator pyramid, bellied up on to the mud, sat on a promontory ten times his height, and looked out on his lake. There was an almost invisible hover of insects over the water. They hatch, eat, mate, and die in and over this puddle.

Neither above nor below the water, two or three dozen water striders worked an old miracle. The light from above distorts in the concavities formed at the points on which the strider rests. When it pushes forward, a motion of three or four inches, concentric ripples spread from where it was, and then from where it comes to rest.

When I stood, something on the hill behind me started and scrambled through leaves. A deer, I think, waiting for a turn at the water, was watching. I ate half an apple and left her the rest.


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