Thursday, June 19, 2003

At the top of the slope, in the corner, where our fence meets the street and the neighbor's fence, where the rosemary is growing in a great shrubby sprawl, there is a bench under the peppermint willow. I was just sitting there. It is a thoughtful place to sit. It was thoughtful of me to plant the tree there, place the bench, and clear the weeds, which have returned, but only as guests, not as invaders. It is a place that is secluded and yet with the most commanding view of the house and yard, the pool and the valley, the driveway and the garage, the magnolia tree, the children on their trampoline across the valley and up the hill, about 3/4 of a mile away.

It is a thoughtful place. I know, because when I sit there I think a great deal. The bench was cold, because the day is cold. The bench is gray, and so is the sky, but that is merely coincidence. There is a very subtle and mild smell there, sitting beside the willow tree, whose branches brush my shoulder, and the smell is almost sweet, faintly woody. I love that smell.

And it was so quiet, that the birds were in command of air and sound. They were singing and darting, hopping beneath the rose shrubs, bouncing on the slender stems of the cape mallow. I could hear only their songs, and the beat of their wings as they flew 'round my head.

I thought about going inside and writing about all that I had seen and felt and heard. I thought about moving away and returning someday to see the trees full and robust, to see the color of the house and the shapes and sizes of all I'd left behind, and I wondered if it would be as quiet, as still. I wondered if I would miss the thoughtful place, the views, and the smell of something I cannot find, but that I love.

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