photo courtesy of www.scot-land.co.uk
I remember the hedges that sat in the middle of the pebbled driveway of our house on Long Island when I was very young. I don't know whether they were privet or boxwood or laurel, but I remember their smell, spicy and green and full of the ocean and unmowed grass. Low down, the otherwise stiff branches softened and if you pushed and pulled, you could make a hole and through that I would climb or crawl and then I'd be inside, crouched on the cool dirt. The branches were so thick that the sun could only make lacy light in there and sound was muffled. I don't remember how long I sat inside the hedges, but it might have been forever or at least as long as the summers we spent there. There was nothing to do in there but sit and look upward, high up through the tops at the blue sky and birds flying overhead and then down, toward the moist earth and trail my fingers in the dirt, displacing pebbles and maybe moss, something ripe. Never eat a mushroom, I'd think, staring at its pale white surface and the brown, ominous edges. The children who lived next door were calling, their shouts muffled and then growing louder as they drew nearer. Looking for me. At the end of the hedge, hands grasped and pulled, making a hole to enter, the sound of leaves rubbing together and wood giving way. There you are! We found you! And then no silence but bare feet and others crouching with me, hiding from the others.