I Could Do No Less

Decades from now
when they ask how I survived
and where I got the strength
to help overthrow the regime,
I will say:

I walked among the poppies
on the hillsides above the river
in the company of lupines and redbuds
and butterflies that sipped from lilies.

I looked at new oak leaves showing tender green
against the passionate blue of the sky
and I listened to birdsong in the morning
and frogsong at night.

I noticed pairs of lizards
chasing each other
up and down tree trunks,
squirrels leaping wildly about
like kittens,
and a pair of hummingbirds
rising up together
in their mating flight.

And I then I walked with a toddler
who squatted in fascination
at the edge of a puddle.
She found a stick close at hand
and picked it up and poked it
into the water
then watched, enthralled,
as ripples moved outward
from the point of contact.

Then she vigorously stirred
the water into mud
and threw various items in
to see what would happen:
a pine cone, a stick, a leaf, a rock—

and finally,
her whole self.

And I could do no less.