Kind Gestures by S. Webster
Beth – 6:30 pm
It is early evening by the time Beth arrives at the turnoff to Ogden Pond. She has not come here in years and almost drove right by. She doesn’t remember it being this far off the main road. What she remembers as a gravel road is now reduced to a bumpy track of high weeds and dried ruts. But there it is, straight ahead and smaller than she thought it would be. But it is late summer and there has been little rain this past month. Lots of humidity but little rain.
It is so much cooler out here than in town. She rolls down the windows and feels the breeze move through the car. It is so peaceful here, so quiet. It doesn’t look like anyone has been here in ages. A great blue heron steps out of the woods to her left and glides toward the water.
Beth watches him for a moment or two before she opens her salad and unwraps the fork and napkin. She says a small grace with her head bowed and hands pressed together. The salad is a little wilted but Beth begins to eat it anyway. She is hungry. Reaching behind the passenger seat she pulls a corkscrew from the pocket full of maps and opens her wine. She sees that one of the boys has left his paper cup from McDonalds in the cup holder. She dumps the warm water from melted ice out the window and startles the heron into looking her way before going back to wading in the water. After pouring her wine and taking a sip Beth leans back into her seat.
The pond is murky with algae and sediment from dead leaves. Cattails fringe the edges where the heron darts in and out catching minnows. For now Beth is content to watch him, smell the woods and listen to the birds while she drinks this deep red wine and feels the evening breeze on her face. She lapses into prayer and thanks God for all his help today. Everything has been taken care of and there is such a sense of peace. It feels so good to just sit here a bit longer before having to go. She might just have a little more wine when she finishes this one. There is no hurry, plenty of time. It is all so lovely and she wants to enjoy it just a little longer before leaving.