Rosemary Simpson

Rosemary's garden is the Findhorn Ecovillage of Southern Illinois.

Scores of roses' heady perfume fills your nose and passion flowers fill your eyes with awe.
Birdsong's all around you, and there are always butterflies.
Skinks bask in the sunlight on the walls of her garage, and
don't flee your approach because they aren't afraid here.

It will not surprise you that a possum lives beneath the house
and daily gets the scrapings from breakfast and dinner plates.

The important thing to know, though, is the turtle.

Rosemary stopped her car on her commute one day
            (it will not surprise you that Rosemary taught creative writing at a prison)
to collect the turtle, circling on the roadside, confused, disabled from a hit-and-run,
to care for and protect it while it healed.

Now blind on one side, the turtle learned
to compensate, to use its other senses,
to move again in straight lines.

It may surprise you that when Rosemary comes home, she drops her sweater on the floor,
and the turtle emerges from beneath the sofa and nestles in the sweater.

At bedtime the turtle follows, and
while Rosemary reads in bed, the turtle rests contentedly beside her.

Might that surprise you from a reptile rescued from the wild?

The important thing to know, though, is
You get what you give.

Thea Chesley