Hay Bales in a Pond

We fix the GPS to avoid highways and weave our way out of town. It’s an easy way to discover adventure on a lazy Saturday. We turn onto roads we’ve never driven before and travel alongside a creek swollen with the spring thaw. The further up the hill we ride, we pass three— maybe four— cascades where the water tumbles lacey and opaque from rock to rock— bubbling and rushing, swift after winter’s release.

At the top of the hill, under a low gray sky, we encounter a farm with fields dotted by leftover square bales. They polka dot the hillside, and in the hollow of two hills, where the trees grow between the fields, a small pond has forded its banks. The water resembles a sheet of beaten silver, and its edges have lapped up two of the square bales. They remind me of life preservers bobbing free from some vanished wreck.

And this is a picture of life, I think. Sometimes circumstances feel like a spring pond that has slipped its banks and swallowed us. We feel adrift— even though we’re not. And we look adrift— even if we’re too heavy to be lifted.

Often, a thing’s appearance and the way things feel matter more to us than reality.

© 2023 Katie Baker

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