Water laps the sides of Cold Bottom, my family’s aluminum canoe, as I dip my paddle into Holland Creek and navigate her shallows to nestle against the logjam where turtles spend hours basking in the sun. I want to let them know. I want to tell them.
I want to be near them.
A school of minnows lingers in the shadows of undulating underwater foliage. Their little bodies shimmer in the shadows, flickering in endless currents. Tiny lily pads remind me of rusted round sunglasses, and I sing John Lennon’s Imagine, a concert for unsuspecting minnows. When I finish singing, loss runs its current through my solar plexus.
—Imagine there’s no people
or minnows, or turtles, or woodpeckers
or ravens, or ponderosa pine—
Halfway out into the logjam, three turtles rise, one after another. We sit and blink for a while, listening to the woodpecker’s tap tap tapping, and then, I thank them.
I thank them for inspiring stories of wisdom.
I thank them for their shells.
I thank them for their flesh.
I thank them for their blinking turtle eyes.
I thank them for being here year after year,
for grounding me on this planet.
And then I tell them that in three days,
everything we know will vanish.
Cold Bottom looks like a giant minnow from below, and the turtles think we are one. We will spend the end together until our home is gone.
Brenda Warren 2012
This piece was written for the Trifecta challenge, Trifextra: Week 23. Here it is:
For the weekend challenge, we’re playing the ambiguity card again and leaving interpretation up to you. Give us 33-333 words with this as your inspiration:
The world will end in three days.