Behind the well on our farm, beside the barn, before the fence. It is a nook, if a farmland has nooks, a forgotten space where rocks sit heavy like they fell there from the sky.
In a different place, this would be called a sanctuary. A lean stream of water feeds the grass in uneven patterns. The sun blisters off the shingles and basks the lizards in light. It’s quieter here than it is just feet away on the farm.
I sit on the rock, under the tree, but it’s not much of a tree, no taller than my twelve-year old self, skinnier at its widest than even just my arm. When I blow on the branches, it sways like it thinks I am wind, but I am gentler than that.
I read to it so it will not be afraid.
As I read, my fingernails scrape the ground. Here, so close to the fertile orchards, somehow the soil doesn’t remember how to be. It doesn’t sift soft through my hand, mulch under my feet like wet clay.
This plot wants to be a desert, and this tree is making a sand pear, and what a glorious call to a vision all of this is. A snake unrolls, letting the warmth of the rock stroke it.
I read to him, too, flipping the pages of The Little Prince. He likes the part about the snake, and the well. He likes the desert.
He doesn’t like the fox, but the lizards do. It’s a story with something for everyone, the way a city lights up with something for everyone.
None of them are sure if they’ve ever seen a rose.
Today, I lean against a palm tree, and a friend asks if I miss the farm life. I laugh, shaking my head– no. I’ve always been a city girl, no.
A lizard slinks by, quick and impatient.
I miss the desert.