Gente que Cuenta

Paper boat, by Leonor Henríquez

Barquito de papel Atril press e1686420005570
Barquito de papel by Catynit on DeviantArt, s/f

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I sat down to rest on a bench facing the river.

Around me, families of geese, a peregrine falcon hovering, a beaver chewing on a log, in short, the small miracles of the day.

Suddenly, I was surprised by a boat that I had not seen for years: a little paper boat.

I looked around to see if the owner was there, maybe a kid, a grandparent, or a hopeless romantic like me, but I didn’t see anyone.

I continued my walk along the river, following the fragile but resolute little boat with my eyes. An old childhood melody returned to my memory: once upon a time there was a tiny boat….

Suddenly this one ran aground on the shore. I wanted to go rescue him, but the current came to his aid.

The river became turbulent, and the boat had to navigate through rocks. I thought that would be the end and ran to the rescue.

But no, the ship had capsized, but it was still afloat until it found a pool of still waters. There it was, stranded.

Once again, I wanted to go to his aid, but the ducklings that swam by his side generated concentric waves that took the boat out of the stillness; it straightened up and continued on his journey.

The river widened and the little boat moved away, with serene dignity, until it disappeared in the distance.

I paused before starting my way back and asked myself a rather curious question.

Could it be that at birth, we all embark on a tiny paper boat?

Could it be that the little paper boat, in its fragility, though tenacity on overcoming obstacles, in its inexorable destiny of disappearance, has just given me a great lesson in humility?

I started my way back humming the catchy childish melody. I smiled and greeted the strangers I found along these paths with brand new eyes.

In the end, we are all fellow travelers.

“Life is one long lesson in humility.”
James Barrie

www.atril .press Leonor Henríquez e1670869356570

Leonor Henríquez (Caracas, Venezuela) Civil Engineer by training (UCAB 1985), writer and apprentice poet by vocation. From her time in engineering emerged her Office Stories (1997), another way of seeing the corporate world. Her latest publications include reflections on grief, Hopecrumbs (2020) ( and “The Adventures of Chispita” (2021) ( an allegory of life inside Mom’s belly.
Today she shares her “impulsive meditations” from Calgary, Canada, where she lives.

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