Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


There is a pond
in a field on State Route 287 that I love. A few years ago, it wasn't there, but a small corn field grew in its place. The land was very low in this area, and during one very wet summer it flooded, killing all the corn. I remember going by each day and watching the corn plants hanging lower and lower, dying a little bit more each time I passed, and thinking how terrible this loss was.

Eventually, the corn succumbed totally, and could hardly be seen for the pool of water that enveloped it. The summer was an unusually wet one, so the little pond never actually drained completely; in fact, it grew wider with each new rainfall. I wondered if the people who owned this property would end up filling it with more soil, and build it up again so they would be able to plant more crops. But that never happened. It was left to nature.

Strangely enough, the little pond never completely drained, and remained even throughout the autumn and winter months and into the following spring. And each time I passed I wondered what would become of that once green field. I missed seeing the corn plants swaying in the breeze. Oh, there is plenty more corn around these parts, but it was just the thought of a living thing dying that made me sad. Little by little, though, the pond seemed to become prettier, with all types of marshy plants growing around it. It looked natural, like it belonged there, as if, maybe, this is what it was meant to be all along.

Over the course of another year or two, the little pond continued to grow and become deeper. I watched with more and more curiosity each subsequent year. Eventually I began to see a few birds stop by, and then some families of ducks. It was certainly not unusual to see the Canadian geese stop to rest on their way from here to there in spring and autumn, either. The ducks are regulars now, some of the geese stay year-round and in the past couple years I have even seen some blue heron and a snowy egret wading at the water's edge. I saw the egret only once; perhaps the little lake was a convenient stopover on his journey. But the blue heron have been there a few times.

I look forward to each new spring, watching the increasing families of ducks and geese move in, wondering what other new birds and animals might adopt this place as home. It's funny, but I rarely think about that corn field anymore. I missed it at first. But the lake has grown into a beautiful natural surrounding, the perfect home for a lot of creatures. I love looking at it on bright sunny days, the water sparkling, the ducks and geese floating along, young ones trailing in their wake. And I'm hoping that snowy egret decides to stop by again one of these days. I haven't been able to catch him on film yet, but if he returns I will.

Odd, something seems vaguely familiar to me. I can't shake the feeling that I have heard this story before. Something about being dried and withered, diseased and suffering, dying, changing, living again in a new form... 

Happy Easter everyone.

Where Once a Lowland Corn Field Stood

There is a limpid pool
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood languishing
In marshy soil,
Drained of its sweetness
And finally succumbing
Under a midsummer
Jasmine sun.

It is said that life
Must run its course,
That out of death
Will come new life.
And so it is
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood, another now
Draws breath.

'Twas washed away
What could not flower,
But the land was not
Left barren.
Life is sustained
Through nature's wisdom,
Change its only order, for
Where once
A lowland corn field
Stood, the snowy egret
Now is boarder.


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