Updated date:

Stories From My Walks In James Gardens


Val enjoys writing prose in rhymes by always leaving a message of a life truism in each piece.

Beauty of Nature Has the Power to Bring the Best Out of Us -- Val Karas

Beauty of Nature Has the Power to Bring the Best Out of Us -- Val Karas


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

Other than people coming there for recreation, there is a whole bunch of Canada gees, ducks, squirrels, chipmunks, and now and then I could see a shy, fast disappearing coyote, a fox, even a deer.

I get there in less than fifteen minutes drive from my home, and parking is rarely so crowded that I would have to make circles waiting for someone to leave.

Sometimes I may go there during winter months, with everything being frozen, the river, trees, and huge patches of the slightly elevated trail going through the forest, so it's a sort of a challenge to take a walk there. Needless to say, that's that very part of winter walk there that I like.

I always fill my pockets with peanuts, because every living thing there eats them. Especially squirrels are so many and I don't even know what food they can find with everything being covered with snow and ice. At times I see one that's crawling around, all exhausted of hunger. All their usual nervousness disappears as I am approaching them with peanuts in my hand.

Oftentimes I feed chickadees, those brave little birds that will land on my extended palm to eat sunflowers. They are always in groups, maybe families, I don't know, because there they go taking turns, sometimes even two at a time tickling my palm with their tiny feet.

And then, of course, there are people walking alone, or as family, with or without a happy dog, and they are my special treat during those walks. Many of us already know each other by name, so we stop to do some friendly chatting.

At other times I may go for my "walking meditation", so I may take a secluded path for a walk, and then sit by myself on one of almost hidden benches by the river. Or I spend quite some minutes enchanting myself with exotic flowers.

Well, it's always a special experience for me, and the next three pieces of rhymed prose will put it all into a form of poems, with my usual fun of forming a slant right margin of each stance.

My Temporary Friend Chipmunk

Something in this rhyme will 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 50's 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'd come

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 goosbumps on my skin

like Chopin's nocturnes and many an ancient remain

while those exotic flowerbeds bring my head to a spin

with shapes and color combinations 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 may bench after 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 a good escape from pollution

maybe about their promoting our relaxation and ease

now and then even with suggestion for health solution.

Sometimes whole group would suddenly gather

with so much to tell -- even about private stuff

I just love those spontaneous getting together

something of which I will never have enough.

© 2021 Val Karas


John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 10, 2021:

This was a nice read Val. James Gardens sounds beautiful, a lot like Kershaw Gardens near where I once lived. Loved reading your encounters with the chipmunk and people in your poems too.

Related Articles