As I sit cross-legged, relaxed, pensive,
On this grassy knoll,
Overlooking the Japanese Garden's placid lake
Rimmed by indigenous trees
Alluring, for their contorted and curiously leaning shapes,
I see a pair of mallards plies the water, nonchalantly,
Oblivious to myriad visitors —
Grandparents, parents, kids, in family groups —
Come to spend the afternoon
Basking in the perfectly natural artificiality of this refuge.
One of the ducks, lackluster brown, flutters its wings,
Leaps up, in a huff, onto the shore of the largest island,
Even as her brightly colored mate continues on,
Carefully calculating the distance its feet weave,
Then reverses heading, returns, emerges on the islet.
Perhaps we're watching each other, possibly not.
Ten minutes later, they plop into the water,
Paddle toward me, as if my gaze were attracting them.
And again, they gather themselves up, in a flutter,
Leap onto this grassy bank, thirty feet below me.
I'm not conversant enough with Eastern thought —
Ancient and modern philosophy, poetry, calligraphy,
The subtle scrollwork of master painters —
To interpret, from this harmonious tableau,
Anything more transcendent than the tableau itself.