We gather beside the pond in great ragged flocks, like birds. We run. Knees and backs stiff, we run — along the available routes, the ones before us, the paved and unpaved paths.

We have failed our children spectacularly.

Sometimes we see ducks, floating in twos and threes. This shimmering, intricate world.

What have we done?

We run faster; we push ourselves. We sweat. We take so much pleasure in our effort, the running, shards of sunlight on the surface of the water.

The oceans rise and boil. The sky thickens.

They won’t forgive us.

We run faster.