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Stories From My Walks in James Gardens

Val enjoys writing rhymed poetry with a valuable message in it.

Forests have vibes that dance in a resonance with soul.

Forests have vibes that dance in a resonance with soul.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

-- John Burroughs


James Gardens is a park-forest, and ex-estate donated to the city by a wealthy man, where I am frequenting either with my wife or alone. With a river, usual park facilities, like picnicking area, benches, public washrooms, several large flowerbeds, a cascading Japanese garden, and couple of miles long trail through the forest.

Other than people coming there for recreation, there are a whole bunch of Canada geese, ducks swimming in a pond, squirrels, chipmunks, and now and then if I am lucky, I may see a shy, fast disappearing coyote, a fox, even a deer.

I get there in less than fifteen minutes from my home, and parking is rarely so crowded that I would have to make circles waiting for someone to leave. But that does happen, especially on long weekends.

Sometimes I may go there in winter months, when everything is frozen, the trail being unattended and a little challenging to walk on with parts covered by thick ice.

I always fill my pockets with shelled peanuts, because everything living and moving there loves them. Especially squirrels and chipmunks are so many that I don't know what they find for food to survive through winter. At times I may see a squirrel crawling around, exhausted from hunger. All their usual nervousness disappears as I am approaching with a handful of peanuts.

Oftentimes I feed chickadees, those brave tiny birdies that fly down onto my palm to feed on sunflower seeds. They are always in groups, maybe families, and they come taking turns, sometimes two at a time, tickling my palm with their tiny feet.

It's hard for me to tell if my encounters with those animals give me more pleasure, or is it seeing those regular people with whom it's a joy to spend some time in a friendly chat.

Those are either loners or the ones coming with a spouse, with or without a happy dog that instantly recognizes my scent and comes to greet me.

Many of us already know each others' names, while others may just pass by with a friendly "hello".

At other times I may go for my "walking meditation", choosing a secluded, less used trail, or sit by myself on a hidden bench by the river and sink into my essence, blending with the sounds of the river flow, and with aroma of the nature.

Or I spend time enchanting myself in front of those flower beds.

Well, it's always a precious experience for me, and the next three rhymed pieces will try to put it all into form of poetry with my usual fun of forming a slant right margin of each stance. I hope you may like them.

My Temporary Friend Chipmunk

Something in this rhyme may catch your eye

as here is something that I just had to try

playing grammatically adventurous guy

talking about myself with a "silent I".


With peanuts in pocket went to my favorite park

on a day so bright that my soul was in a trance

whistling a 50s tune just as happy as a lark

glancing passing chick pace like in dance.

On bench facing river. purling sound like mantra meditation

my nostrils filled with opiate coming from pines all around

downstream a bunch of ducks in their yapping elation

now leaned back with eyes resting on blue of sky.

A little new sound came from the near of my right

brave tiny chipmunk filled the corner of my eye

sniffing as if having a good meal in his sight

of course, peanuts attracted the little guy.

He didn't barge at all as my hand reached for some

let me pat him as he placed two inside each cheek

then ran away to hide them, but for more he came

greedy little bastard hoping for a stash, so to speak.

He let me pat him more, like knowing that was the price

so our little interaction was proceeding extremely well

those peanuts made our friendship unfold quite nice

till nothing was left in my pocket but a peanut smell.

With a freakish look of anger and blame

he sniffed some more and ran abruptly away

leaving just impression of rodent brave and tame

with all other treasures of nature he did make my day.

Those Enchanting Flowerbeds

There are few things that put goosebumps on my skin

like Chopin's nocturnes and many an ancient remain

as those exotic flowerbeds bring my head to spin

with those shapes and colors blasting my brain.

In front of them I stand like in a trance

feeding my soul with every petal and leaf

while the gentle breeze makes them dance

in a hypnotic spectacle that's beyond my belief.

It's like heavens are teasing my ever curious mind

with colorful birds, fishes, and above all, flowers

making me wonder about creative force behind

possessing such incredible artistic powers.

What is it that knew how to pamper our heart

how to stimulate in our nature that very best

and how to inspire us to create our own art

putting love and appreciation in our chest.

So that walk in my park is like my walking meditation

leaving in me a sense of wonder in my whole being

making me ponder about nature's artistic creation

along with deep feeling so enriching and freeing.

People I Meet on the Trail

Not overly charismatic or a self-pushing freak

I make instant friends wherever I may go

it just happens naturally, so to speak

unfolding faster than I may know.

Of course, those are not some home visiting friends

just ordinary, friendly people that I'm fond to meet

it's kind of frequent serendipity that never ends

whether in elevator, at stores, or in the street.

And so it is with those friendships in the park

maybe started with a comment about their dog

approaching me with tail wagging or friendly bark

or it was someone stopping by my bench after a jog.

And then there are those harder to explain

when we both spontaneously stop for a chat

maybe starting with no more than expected rain

to end up with something so much deeper than that.

Like benefits of energy coming from all those trees

or how those walks are good escape from pollution

maybe about their promoting our relaxation and ease

now and then even with suggestion for healthy solution.

Sometimes whole group would suddenly gather

with so much to tell -- even about private stuff

I just love that spontaneous getting together

something of which I'll never have enough.


And so go my happy walks in that park

with boyish joys only nature can give

vitality receiving extra ignition spark

with renewed will to love and live.

© 2022 Val Karas