I walk barefoot across the narrow board
over softly flowing water and step
onto the cool, muddy berm.
The rice is the gentlest green now,
thriving in deep, delicious mud.
Soaked in rainwater,
the paddies reflect evening sky
as bits of sun escape rainclouds.
Green spreads out to the edges,
touching the feet of encircling hills.
A scruffy yellow dog catches my eye
as he sweeps by, sniffing
his way into messy water
and snapping at a startled toad.
I sense snails as big as apples
nestled in inches of mud.
The rice is growing tall, elegant,
striving upward like its ancestors.
Before long it will be gold, ready
for harvest, stooping under its burden,
but for now this is enough.