Holly and I stare at the water. A turtle stares at us. The sun is low in the late afternoon, and it sparkles from the turtle’s eyes, two tiny lights on the soft water. Holly is mesmerized. And then a fish breaks the surface to catch a water bug, and the pond circles and vibrates, and Holly becomes the predator dog she is, pointed to leap.
It is almost winter, and no one comes to the pond. Except beaver, muskrats, a crane, turtles, fish, geese on their way south, Holly, me. It is not lonely. The leaves fall over the bank and into the current. Pine trees shake thickly. We are alive.
I won’t be here at the end. I haven’t any idea what we, the humans, will do. What we will not do. The animals who can, the ones whose home is the ocean or air, will go to the edges. They’ll escape for a while. And the others - the turtles, the fish, the muskrats, the beaver - home only to the pond, will die. The pond will die.
Holly and I will have been dead a long time. Or a short time, if you are the earth. Or timeless, if you can be that.
The pond reflects us. The pine trees sway us. The leaves pass lightly along our shadows as they move to the water. The turtle sees us. Watches us. Knows our habits. Our schedule. Our sad beliefs. Knows what is crucial. Holly and I.
a ten minute play
A man and woman save the lives of muskrats by performing an illegal act.
The muskrats help.
Turtle, a brief monologue, was published in Unpsychology, issue 4, Climate Minds. You can see the entire magazine free, including some beautiful art work, at:
Christine Williamson & David Ehrlich in Muskrat Love, TenFest Vermont. Photo: William Kneen