Duck Island

Slowly walking back from Forest Hall after morning meditation, the sun peaks over the horizon, signaling another day risen. Crickets speak, geckos talk, birds sing amidst the noble silence observed. Morning mist floats over the pond mystically creating a vision of peace and serenity. Sunlight cracks through the mist in diffused columns of muted gold. The water is still, the air calm. The red earth I walk upon leads my feet upwards towards the cowshed where the bass sound of hungry cows reverberates, another day at New Life begins….

Strolling in the afternoon, past the pond, my eyes latch onto the wooden sign reminding me to “Breath slowly, go slowly”. Further along, another wooden sign points to the “Rickety wooden bridge” ahead.

The bridge, made of bamboo and indeed rickety, leads to Duck Island – a beautiful island offset from the middle of the pond with a fig tree in the middle, a wooden board resting on stone amidst the green grass. I walk slowly, mindfully, navigating the bamboo poles under my feet. Reaching my destination, I view the pond from the ducks’ perspective; it’s truly beautiful!

The ducks waddle across the dirt road from their shed towards the lake. A cacophony of sound emerges as different quacks give voice to the group. Waddling towards the pond together, some make their way into the water first while the rest of the group waits to enter a minute later. Now, in their element, the quacking, waddling, awkward ducklings become the epitome of grace, gliding through the water as if nothing but the wind propels them across its surface with supreme elegance. Some glide towards Duck Island and effortlessly jump onto land with a quack. Others choose smaller groups, skimming the water’s surface towards an unknown destination, displaying poise and beauty at once. This vision causes me to pause and gaze upon one of nature’s strokes of perfection.

As the sun begins to lower in the sky above, I walk around the lake, my feet cushioned by rich green pea shoots. Finding my way to a green bench, I sit, quietly observing the calm water, the rays of sun sparkling off its brown water like tiny diamonds. Then from the depths, a fish pokes its lips through the calm and rings of ripples spread upon the surface, seemingly never to end, only to dissipate into nothingness. It reminds me of life’s impermanence, of love, of life itself with all its wondrous mysteries.

Continuing around the pond, the beauty astounds me. With each step, the view changes: the light, the trees, the groundcover, Duck Island, Forest Hall, the rice field beyond, cows grazing in the pasture, tallgrass whispering in the wind, butterflies fluttering by, bird song, my breath is full. Gratitude for the moment, I am filled with peace, serenity and joy. My day is blessed, I am where I need to be, perfect moment, perfect…..

by Zev Beck

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