Thursday, May 13, 2010

A strange thing I do

(No, this isn't that kind of post. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

When I'm leaving PT, I usually take the stairs nearest my office. When I reach the bottom of those stairs and emerge from the building, instead of walking straight ahead on the sidewalk, I often veer right and onto the grass. Standing a few yards away is a very large set of shrubs that surround a power transformer that you may well not notice if you're not looking for it--which is, of course, the whole point of the shrubbery. Many evenings, I take a few steps along the side of the building until I'm behind those shrubs and then step forward into a person-size opening that exists, as near as I can tell, entirely on the whim of nature.

At that moment, I'm not visible from the sides or the front; I'm hidden in the plants. As long as I don't look behind me, where of course people in the offices could see me through their windows, I can stare at the world through a many-feet-thick curtain of leaves that makes me nearly invisible to it. (Those offices are always empty by the time I'm there.)

I have almost no memories prior to age ten; the reason why is a long story. One of the few I do have is of a huge shrub that a friend and I cleared out and turned into a fort, our secret place, a pocket of magic where we could escape the world. I loved that fort. As is typical of my childhood, I came home from school one day just in time to watch a bulldozer smash it to the ground as it cleared the field to make way for more construction.

Standing in the shrub by the office, the leaves all around me, I recall that childhood fort, I feel it still standing all around me, and I inevitably smile.

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