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A Friend

A day came that I had expected and wanted to come; a day I waited a long time to be happy for. But when it struck I abandoned it at home, and drove off into tomorrow and another world. When the tears finally came and I couldn’t see to drive farther, I pulled into the shade of pines that guarded a road from encroachment by the wilderness. (Who I cried for I do not know.)

Through the trees a meadow watched me, a patch of sunlit weeds that rocked as if cradling a baby to sleep. It was a goodly field, with lumpy earth that waddled for a scattering of yards to the right until held at bay by the trees and the remnants of a split rail fence (and thus the road was kept safe). Left the meadow skipped away, dancing through the sunlight, leading bright yellows and mellow browns down to someplace marshy from where a hint of swamp water came from to color the air.

The barn was in one piece—there’s always a barn—but the red had gone and it leaned at the discretion of the wind. A pile of rocks sat by the door as if waiting to be let in. Around back, weeds grew strangely around a rusty plow as if afraid to touch it, as if they remembered all the torturing cuts it once gave out. I told them it would dig no more, but the weeds still looked dubiously at it. A mouse ran through the blades shopping for seeds.

The meadow was a lovely spot with the right amount of lonely to make it mysterious and beautiful—what I needed just then—and I sat on an old log someone had lugged into the meadow but never cut up and left to rot. The sun brought the touch and smell of warm to my skin, and I smiled as if the meadow had told an old corny joke. I told it one back; though the rattling of the weeds was the best the meadow could do for laughter.

I brushed my hands across the tops of the weeds, caressing them as I walked down to the pond. Hidden around the feet of a family of yellow and green leafed trees, was a midget mire fed by a trickle of water, and where the frogs didn’t cease their songs when I step near as if I was already their friend. Blue-winged dragonflies skimmed the surface of the water looking for mosquitoes. The air was heavy here with the scent of life brewing, and I took my fill.

I love that meadow. It’s not mine, never will be; and belongs to no one no matter what anyone may say. It’s a friend that makes no judgments about my choices, about my divorce; merely someone to talk to and someone to listen to. I know others visit the meadow—somewhere there’s a deed holder—but I’ve never seen them, and I will never tell anyone where it is or take them there; nor look up the various names of the plants and animals that live there as that would bring on the practical and chase away the magic. It would . . . kill the meadow. They’re just birds and trees and weeds and always the mice, and together they make a song that now resides within my soul; a melody I’ll never forget but can never write down.

Once I snuck up there in the winter trying to catch the meadow asleep, but the traitorous sun saw me and came out from behind a cloud to wake the meadow up. It opened one lazy eye. The light twinkled off the snow like sugar crystals on white cake icing, and the icicles hanging from the fence rails and tree limbs smiled like a half-toothed old woman with red cheeks welcoming her grandchildren with freshly baked cookies.

Sometimes at home I can smell the meadow, hear the rattle of its weeds, and I always stop to listen and say hello, even if I’m late for the practical.

 

copyright © 2012 by mari t.

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