Fontainebleau State Park, north shore of Lake PontchartrainI can see downtown New Orleans across the lake. On Wednesday I’ll drive the causeway bridge, longest over water in the world, but now I’m on the boardwalk, while the approaching children vibrate the dock. They giggle behind me like bubbles. They turn the viewer down, to look at a trash pile in the marsh; up, at the clouds, the plane, the sun.

Doesn’t it burn your eyes?

Another tries it. Did it burn?

Let’s go, one says. The eldest keeps shushing them. The old woman is birding. The redheaded boy rides off.

I watch their bright T-shirts moving away.

Some fish keeps jumping
over and over. Common
moorhens behind reeds.

The couple seeks a brown pelican; I point it out to them. Their first visit here since Hurricane Katrina. The woman is still mourning. Live oaks survived, their branches drooping to the ground and rooting, but many others did not. Two years of cleanup: now time to replant.

A family
encircles an oak. Do their hands
all meet? I can’t tell.

Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL January 19, 2009 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Well worded scene.

  2. Beth January 19, 2009 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Thanks, Bernard. It was beautiful out there.

  3. Catherine January 19, 2009 at 8:44 am - Reply

    When Peter and his brothers were kids they would wrap their arms around the live oak we were later married under. Their arms never met.

  4. Beth January 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I remember doing stuff like that as a kid–and now they call us treehuggers!