Pond Skimming by Wendy Burton

As I attend more and more funerals, it seems impossible to truly memorialize a life. There is no replacement for the lost. I didn’t know the loved one Wendy Burton speaks of here, but if a life can be measured by it’s impact then this is a wonderful account.

Photo Courtesy Brian Landis

Wendy Burton

Pond Skimming

Mountain source, Abiding Heart

Today, so many people whose lives you warmed come,
that they fill the wooden building to overflow.
Some stand outside.

So many people whom you loved in return,
with your perfect loyal soul and enormous heart.
Today, as your honest and soaring spirit is celebrated with joy
in the zendo which you helped build and where we were

this one who loves you
skims the pollen-sprinkled surface of my pond.

The goop I collect is the vivid green of the Headlands in winter.
Or, thick brown muck—decaying leaves that unsettle from
the murky depths and rise to the surface in slow motion.

When I collect tadpoles by mistake
I fling them back and watch as they disappear,
with a flash of white bellies and oversized heads.

Balanced atop a giant boulder, trying for a certain angle where I
can scrape the
fuzz-covered stalks of delicate cattails that die every winter and
return in the
I hope not to tumble in
and smile because I know you would smile at my precarious
and join me here if you could.

Toast was a weekly email newsletter that ran from July 2018 to March 2019. All of the pieces from Toast’s run and more can be read in Solo Novo 5/6.

  • Glenna Luschei, Abiding Publisher and Editor Emeritus
  • Benjamin Daniel Lawless, Editor in Chief
  • Tom Harrington, Contributing Editor
  • Rena Ferro, Managing Editor
  • Brian Landis, Photographer and Advisor