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The Willy Wagtail
Some years ago I was staying in the city for a conference. My accommodation was at the edge of the Melbourne CBD in Victoria, Australia, opposite the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. The following prose poem is the story of a wonderful early morning experience I had in these gardens. And yes it’s true, I talk to ducks, birds, dogs, even teddy bears. The above photo is courtesy of Wikipedia. I couldn’t find a foggy photo.
I roll up the blind, see the fog, it calls to me “Come out and play”. I experience a sense of excitement as I hurry through my shower and pull my clothes on. Blow waved hair, makeup, these things no longer important.  The fog! I want to be part of the fog. I hurry downstairs, cross the road and run into the park. Drops of moisture caress me as I break through the fog’s mysterious, seemingly ever moving blanket. I can see it before I reach it but when I arrive at the place it appeared to be it is no longer visible to me.  This fills me with a sense of wonder; I giggle with glee at the fog’s game of hide and seek. As I move deeper into this wintery world I turn to find a high fence of fog surrounding the park. I hear the muted hum of the peak hour traffic, but it has disappeared from view.  It is as if the park and I have been magically transported up into the clouds. I walk towards the pond where a duck swims in the icy cold water. He looks black, but as I get closer I see the subtle rich green of his back. I speak to him “Good morning Mr Duck, you are very beautiful. Aren’t you cold swimming in that water?” He opens his beak and honks his reply. I can’t speak Duck but I sense on the deep important level we understand each other. I tell him “I’m sorry I didn’t bring you any food. I was in such a hurry to get out and play in the fog, I forgot. I’ll bring you some tomorrow.” He again opens his beak and honks.  “So long Mr Duck” I say. He honks, swims in a circle, then glides off. I return to my game of trying to catch the fog. I chase it but it outruns me, I try creeping up on it but still it eludes me. I sit on a seat to rest; go inward to that place of synthesis where I sense an analogy between the mystery of fog and the quest for total understanding. We may never be able to grasp either fully, but what joy filled, enlightening experiences we have if we try. As if to consolidate this insight, a little Willy Wagtail lands on the seat beside me. He entertains me with his dance, which is a combination of little hops and great flourishes of his beautiful tail. As his performance ends I experience an enormous sense of gratitude for the mysterious beauty of the fog, the duck, the little Willy Wagtail and me.
Tricia 24/7/98