When I was growing up, my grandparents had a beautiful back yard that was just perfect for a bunch of kids to run around in. It had two levels, and so there were steps to climb into the upper yard. There was orange honeysuckle to suck on--I thought that was the only kind of honeysuckle there was. There were places to hide and places to rest. The entire yard was surrounded by a brick wall and along the back wall there was a little wooded area that was probably only a row of trees, but when I was little it seemed like a forest. And then, at the end of the wall, in the very back corner of the yard, there was a gate that led outside.
So, what was outside the gate? The Secret Garden? Narnia? Well, most of the time there was a pretty boring little two lane road, but then one day the department of public works decided to dig up the entire road to bury some of these.
They did some digging and then they dumped a whole lot of concrete pipes in the road and left them there for quite some time. Some of them were on their sides, and some were standing upright. In one place, the upright ones were left in a sort of flower form with one in the middle and the others in a circle around it. It was the best place to play, and thankfully our parents, not being the mollycoddling sort of parents people have now, let us play there. It was a great summer until one day a bunch of big boys came along and threw big clods of dirt at us and that was that. I still drive down that road sometimes, and when I do, I always think of those pipes lying there beneath the asphalt.
Later when I was in college, my friends and I used to have the occasional party at the house of a friend who lived on a little street that dead-ended shortly before what would soon become the northern leg of I-240. At the moment, it was just a big flat, mostly empty expanse of graded dirt, but what was there was a bunch of great big concrete pipes. I walked down there once with a friend who wasn't quite a boyfriend, but wasn't quite not a boyfriend, and we sat inside of one the pipes talking for a long time. It was great until some bigger boys came along in cars and started racing around up and down and around the pipes. I was very afraid that they would find us and that they would be mean (Would they throw clods of dirt at us?), but I don't think they ever knew we were inside.
So, I guess that if you have been reading this blog for very long, you will think that I am going to draw some spiritual analogy here, but I'm not. It's just that I was driving up the interstate this morning and got behind a truck full of concrete pipes and started remembering.
Orange honeysuckle, by the way, has about twice as much nectar as the white and yellow sort and tastes much better. I loved to pinch off the end of the blossom and see that little drop of sweetness oozing out.