I was swimming along the shoreline of Lake Nęcko.* It was dusk. The surface of the water had become calm.

At first I caught sight of a clear, triangular wake coming towards me. I saw the trail, but I didn’t see what it was that was swimming. A diver from Belarus? A submarine? The exercises of a special unit? So that’s how the next war begins….

After a while, I saw the solitary swimmer: a mustache, a snout advancing towards me on the water, a little head with a coat of fur combed back by the water, eyes looking around nervously, whose strain could be seen. A mink! (Later on my host there helped me distinguish between a mink and a beaver or an otter.)

She did not see me. Perhaps she was already thinking about supper or maybe about little ones left behind unattended. Swimming slowly, I got to wondering after a while who had the right-of-way. Without a doubt, we were on a collision course. Where is the navigation channel here? On the right side, on the left….
Which way is the wind blowing?

The mink looked at me…. A loud splash…. And she had already gone.

Smart creature! She knows the “rules of the road.” Regardless of theory, when it comes to the right of way on water. it’s always the bigger individual who has the right-of-way. If you see someone [or something] bigger than you,… run!

Klonownica, July 2018

* In the northeast corner of Poland is the resort town of Augustów (pop. 30,000).
Lake Nęcko stretches along the north side of town; Klonownica is a section of the town. The border with Lithuania is only about 30 miles to the northeast. The border with Belarus is even closer (about 25 miles to the east), but there are no through roads, and the Augustowska wilderness area intervenes.

For this translation I am grateful to dear friend, Matthew Rzeczkowski OP from Eastern Dominican Province in USA who currently lives in St. Dominic’ parish in Washington DC.