The bridge is rickey, a floating bridge
over a woodland pond. Rarely traveled,
it floods in the spring,
making the passage if not dangerous,
at least a little messy, a place avoided by most.
There is no obvious view, no reason
to cross the bridge in the wet season.
Nothing draws you except curiosity.
For you, that is enough,
rarely content to wonder,
you have a desire to see,
no matter how messy,
where the journey takes you.
This tendency has not always served you well.
At times, there is nothing worth the journey
on the other side
and you are left wet and worn with nothing to show
but the adventure and stories to tell your children,
reminding them you too still have
some of the wildness of youth buried in your old bones.
You are a collector of mistakes,
some of them unavoidable, some of them not your own,
some of them spectacular.
Most barely noticed. Part of the journey,
to collect them like brim on a line,
then let them go at the end of the day.
You cross the shakey bridge. Your feet grow wet.
On the other side is a clearing of rocks and boulders.
You clamber up in the April sun
and take off your shoes and socks
and lie on the sun while they dry.
You will take a new path home, a dry one,
a safe, if somewhat longer one.
But this small adventure has been a success.
For all its mess, there is healing in the sun
that bakes you and the rocks you lie on,
and if the wet path was a mistake,
it is one you would gladly make again.
About this poem
We all make mistakes. That’s part of what makes us interesting. And at times, they lead to surprisingly wonderful things. Trust me on this one.
If you don’t know what Brim are, they are small fish found mostly in ponds. Takes a couple of them to make a meal. I used to fish for them with my Grandfather in Surry County, Va.
The picture was taken at the Hebron Wildlife Reserve in nearby Hebron, NY.