All the Waters I Have Seen – Sugarhouse Pond

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Geese in a pond at Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City

This is the gathering place.

Down below, a blanket, a fur like the unhealthy coating on a tongue. Amorphous—the emerald of rotting things. No one would dare wade through these waters. From a distance there is nothing beneath. Under the glint of blue-sprawled sky, it is only water. The geese find it clean enough. They don’t mind the concrete sidings, or the brown stars of sediment that trace their way inkily through the shallows. With their long necks bowed, as snakes, as willow fronds, they wander on land where the sidewalk is slick with mud. To step past them necessitates a bow in return. The path winds past them, through them, to a grove of cottonwood trees, trunks grayed, porous. A creek runs here beneath a wooden bridge. It smells like river rocks, and the water is clear as melted ice. In a city where most of the creeks have been sacrificed, hidden underground to prevent flooding, it is a privilege to see uncaptured water, and to gather along its shores. No sounds besides water crinkle and distant car grumble. A magpie strings forth, an iridescent ribbon, gracile as the necks of the geese. He pecks at the sand above the clearness. For one moment he stands still, watching the water flow—a shining movement that is magnificent to both of us.

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