A soft, damp wind met me on the hill’s crest – strong enough to carry me, if I had wings… I took the first full breath after the clumsy ascent, filling lungs and eyes with the swirling blueness, the crowd of throbbing stars. My head swam with it. The day’s haymaking was in the wind, and the unseen river’s water, and the glassy scratch of crickets. Coarse grass whispered around my ankles, and a little down the hill Father’s cypress flared skywards.
“I want to remember this,” I murmured – the words lost in the whirl.
All the way down, the village windows glowed in some sort of hollow peace. Moonlight glazed the staple and the squatting trees down there. It painted the mountains away, blue waves stiff against the shimmer of the sky.
Surely my own hill would look like that seen from behind, from any distance…
I shook my head, and took another breath of the astrolabe world, the lukewarm wind, the wide-eyed, quivering stars, the crickets’ song, and began to turn around – slowly, slowly... Reason was for tomorrow.
For now, I stood at the heart of night.
Would you believe it? They’re at it again. Men in green overalls – landscapers from the city, heaven forfend the Joneses should do their own gardening, or hire someone in the village – with gleaming aluminium ladders, and those big secateurs I can never see without thinking of severed limbs. Four of them – no, wait. A fifth, a woman, judging by the ponytail, emerges backwards from behind the fountain, raking the absurd gravel path, while two of her fellows trim the laurel hedge – again. And they were here… two weeks ago, was it? Trimming the hedge, one would have thought, within an inch of its life. How far can it have strayed in fifteen measly days? The four pear trees they have already tamed into saddish spheres on a stick. The olive tree… the less said, the better! Really, who plants an olive tree in this climate? Witness the bandage/doggie coat/whatever it is that the last two green overalls are peeling away from the poor thing. And the light! They even placed one of those modern things, lighting up the olive tree from beneath at night… think of being a tree, rooted where you are, having to suffer it all… In grateful relief I twitch nose, and whiskers, and ears. And most definitely no roots. High time to find another burrow, Willard, I tell myself. Before the Joneses tell the landscape people to trim the bunnies too.