Piankatank River

The kitchen window overlooked the Piankatank River in Virginia. When I finished making mushroom soup I stepped outside. It was dusk on a winter evening.

I was worried about a friend 400 miles away who was gravely ill.

A group of wild ducks settled in for the night on a sandbar in the Piankatank. It comforted me to think that they would be there all night. A heron flew from the shore and disappeared into the shadows.

Perhaps these wild things offered a brief glimpse of salvation. “For a time I rest in the grace of the world,” Wendell Berry wrote, “and am free.”

Darkness fell. A light frost whitened the grass. The sound of shoes crunching on the dry magnolia leaves woke me from my reverie. “It’s time to go in,” my sister said.

Tonight we would have mushroom soup.