One Possible Answer
by Alan Gann

Neither frightened nor amused
walking through the wild forest
trail winding its inevitable way toward the black water
I do not know how many furlongs or unseen deer will spy my passage
how many meadows— poppy and paintbrush and clover
how many clear streams
sunfish swimming beneath tiny waterfalls.

I will see sparrow and jay and ubiquitous mockingbird
squirrel and maybe a bobcat
a coyote or two—
perhaps a heron will unfold prayerful wings and rise from the swamp
a hunting kestrel will hover then dive.

What better thing than to wander and be astonished?

Having walked my allotted miles and reached the dark river
I will not look at these hands and ask
what have you accomplished or where have you been
or even were you grateful.
Neither amused nor frightened
I will reach into worn pockets
and find I have saved exactly two pennies—
that the boatman’s open palm is warm and welcoming.

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