During all the smoke and chaos, I met a little creature…

I don’t usually talk about things outside of horses, but today I feel compelled.

Swimming is my thing.  I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and it just relaxes me and keeps my temple reasonably fit and centered.   I love pool swimming, lake swimming and tropical ocean swimming.  Open ocean swimming, not so much.

Today, as usual, it was the pool at my local aquatic and tennis center.   Most often, this pool is filled with out-of-control kids whose henpecked Covidstuck Moms are trying to get 20 minutes of peace, sitting in the shade reading … us lap swimmers make up the ‘serious swimmer’ minority, dodging and weaving – just trying to get to the other side.

Anyway, today, shock of shocks, I was alone.  Not one other person or child around.  (The air quality is horrible due to the California fires….)

It was kindof eerie and beautiful at the same time.  The air was visibly orange against the blue water.  Ash was slightly falling, like snow.  The water was like glass.

However, the most magical thing (besides the lack of people and pristine water) was the abundance of other life forms around…

Today, I met a Katydid who called himself Todd Carlson.

The air is not usually orange… and the pool is NEVER empty like this. Ash was falling on my phone as I took this photo.


On this ashy orange day, I started off using my kickboard – so my head was above water.  As I motored along, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked like a green leaf on the lane divider.

A green leaf – standing up?

I stopped.

Me (noticing that the leaf had legs and a head):  “Hey there!  What’s your name?”

Insect (waving his antennae):  “It’s me, Todd.  Todd Carlson!”  (I heard it in my head, as plain as day.  It was also said in Todd’s voice.)

Little Green Todd Carlson. I actually got back into the pool with my phone (!!) to take his photo.

OK, SO>>>

OK, so, Todd Carlson was a fine friend of mine who was also a producer.  He passed away recently at a very young age, leaving a wife, child and many loving fans – like myself.  It was very sad.

Imagine my surprise when the katydid answered me with THAT!

Me (to myself):  “Just keep swimming…”

Every time I passed little green Todd, he’d wave and I’d hear real Todd’s voice in my head, cracking jokes and laughing (typical).

Me (to myself):  “Just keep swimming…

Now usually, after a few minutes of kickboard, I’d switch to swimming, but I didn’t today because I was afraid that I would swamp Todd Carlson.

So, I kept using the kickboard, back… and… forth.

While I was going back and forth, each time nodding at Todd as he waved and laughed, I would notice other little beings.  There was a spider out on the ropes, as well as a bee and a blackbird.  They didn’t have names and weren’t talking… so I had to assume that they do this rope hanging feat regularly, when the water is chill.  Or, I thought maybe the air was more clean next to the water, not sure.

Back and forth… Todd, the spider, the bee and the bird.  I nodded to them all each time I passed, making sure I never got any of them wet.

During my last 5 minutes, I decided to get into another lane so that I could actually swim, like I was supposed to… but I continued to be like a hot knife through butter – as smooth as possible.  No splash, no wake.  I did not want to upset my tiny friends.

Every time I would pass, he would wave something. He wasn’t threatened… it was more of a thing. As you can see, I made sure not to create any waves to upset him.


So, of course, it was fun to converse with the memory of Todd Carlson… no matter what was truly happening, the bottom line was that I spent 30 minutes today, totally focused on my memories of a sweet, smart, funny, great creative writer and producer who left us all too early.

Now, I highly doubt Todd Carlson would visit me as a tiny, green katydid… waving his arms and telling jokes as I swam…

… but maybe, just maybe it doesn’t matter at all because the moral of the story is that I spent a wonderful half hour with the memory of a wonderful friend.

Thank you little green Todd Carlson.  You gave me a great peace.

This little blackbird kept marching around, oblivious to me being RIGHT THERE.

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4 comments have been posted...

  1. Brian Grubb

    Thank you, Dawn. What a great reminder to take a moment, find some peace, feel gratitude…and remember. I really miss him.

  2. Doris

    It is these peaceful times, when distractions are minimal, that we can listen and feel the calm of visiting with a friend. I’m so glad this could be descerned and enjoyed.

    I can’t really tell what is happening with the fires. What the news is doing here is showing seconds of overwhelming , frightening recordings of fire and horrendous damage. Most of the time they are not more specific than saying “the terrible fires in CA”. So I am always glad to see something from friends and family so that I can see they are safe for the moment. Thanks for writing. Sending continued good wishes.

  3. Sonya

    This is one of your best stories. I don’t know why, but I love it. It was peaceful.
    Blessings and I hope the fires get better soon!

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