background image
away from the road 33
reflecting pool
Time: the middle hours of a day in late December
I, who love walking, and who always hated riding, who am fond
of some society, but never had spirits that would endure a great deal,
could not, as you perceive, be better situated.
-- william cowper,
the letters...,
(everyman library no. 774,
. 201)
The sound of a waterfall down below
had made him turn off the trail; now
he was working his way down,
crouching to get under low
branches, shoving aside or
snapping off the smaller stuff ,
his boots skidding, his cap
snatched off once, his pack
twice lodging against a limb,
stopping him dead with a jolt,
making him bend even lower
to go on. He was sliding sidewise
when the falls and its big pool
came into sight. He was here
for the fi rst time.
Just below him,
a boulder sunk into the slope would do
for a seat with the vantage-point
he wanted, once he'd found stones
to fi ll a wide cleft in it
and cleared away some intruding
thin branches and twigs.
He eased off his pack and sat, still
catching his breath. He'd come out
near the foot of the pool, where the ripples
were pushing upstream in shallow arcs