Friday, November 23, 2012


“The park is as quiet as the bare trees, even as the 
busy suburb that surrounds it hums a frantic symphony...”

By Patrick J. Walsh

Walking in the park on Thanksgiving, there is much for which I am thankful.

I search the sky for an appropriate place to direct my gratitude. The impatient Moon is already treading its path in the fading daylight.

There are those who walk with me in this life, some who are closest to me now each day and some who have passed from the world but remain with me for every step, and I am grateful for their influence on my life.

Together they have given me all the best instincts I have for doing what is good and what is right. I am blessed with their wisdom every time I do something for the benefit of others.

© Patrick J. Walsh
The impatient Moon is already treading 
its path in the fading daylight.

I look out across the water, its pristine surface still, as though it has been freshly wrung from the clouds. On this chill November afternoon, the pond is bereft of the familiar clatter of geese, and it is quiet in the park.

There is a calm that is a gift of places like this, and it is of that calm that my gratitude for each good thing takes shape. I walk and wonder at all the small good things that people do to make life easier for others, amid all the suffering in the world.

Even several years since I first began to record my encounters with the life of the park, when I first found solace for the sufferings of others in the quiet peace of this place, there is injury and illness and mourning among those who are closest to me.

But I know for every injury and illness, and for each one who mourns, there is love. There are quiet prayers and selfless acts of friendship that make each day more bearable, and I am grateful for every little kindness.

I notice the bare branches cross-hatched black against the darkening blue of the sky. The rough bark of the trees looks cold as a closed door. Somewhere in the colorscape of fallen leaves beyond the treeline, a squirrel rushes from one cache of food to another, heedless of the crashing echo of his movements through the brittle debris of the Fall.

The seasons change. The park is as quiet as the bare trees in November, and remains so throughout the quiet winter, even as the busy suburb that surrounds it hums a frantic symphony of struggle and attainment, growth and decay, sorrow and joy.

Squirrels run around in the leaves beneath the trees, blithely disrupting the quiet of the park in the chill air of the fading afternoon. I chuckle softly at the sound, and I am grateful for the relief of laughter, as it lifts the veil of deep thoughts.

Aware of all that I have been given, and seeing the sky and the water and the trees in a new light, I hear a different sort of music in the sound of the squirrel scurrying through the woods. I am thankful, and as I near the end of my walk today, I am confident that my gratitude has found its place.

© Patrick J. Walsh


  1. Wow. This was stunning, Patrick. A refreshing, beautiful description of the place where you see yourself among the beauty of nature. This is the second time I've read a nature-inspired blog post from you, Patrick. If I did not know you were describing your personal experience with nature, I would think this was a fictional character. I so enjoyed this, Patrick. Your vocabularly choices fit squarely within the ideal that I seek. Bravo!

  2. Thank you so much for reading, and for your support, Amanda. I do feel really blessed to have the time to spend in the park, and to be able to write about the experience in a way that might be helpful or interesting to others. I am especially grateful for your feedback, because I really value your opinion - your support is one more great thing for which I am thankful!