Fruitless mulberries had once lined the street – with one in front of every lot. Or, so she had been told. She had met another “nosey neighbor” at an open house. When she had described which property was hers (to see if the two of them were neighbors), the elderly lady had exclaimed “oh, the house with the perfectly sculpted tree!”
It was… perfectly sculpted. The trunk had been pruned to resemble a hand. With her second eye, she always saw a tree house sitting in it. She wondered which alternate reality that was in. Yet, maybe it wasn’t an alternate reality. Maybe it was the future.
When she had first bought the house, she had thought about cutting it down. It provided no fall color and no fruit. However, the love that had gone into the maintenance of the tree could not be denied.
One year she had it pruned back to the “hand”. The summer after had been unbearable inside her house as the tree struggled to regrow its canopy. She had discovered what the tree was for. It was for shade. The lesson had solved another problem. The neighbor across the street who had constantly complained about it, never complained again. She guessed it had been a hot summer for them as well.
The tree had proven it’s worth. Moira would keep it. Taking the under canopy up, she provided a space for undergrowth trees and populated it with Dogwood and Japanese Maples. These under canopy trees would provide the fall foliage she needed. As a day dreamer she recognized the importance of keeping and celebrating the passage of time. In a place where seasons were not distinct, she tried to provide some structure for mother nature wherever she could.
While the tree thought of itself as ancient (it was probably the oldest tree in the neighborhood), it was (in reality) a mere fifty. Since she had decided that the tree would stay, Moira bought a boulder for it to have as a friend with the hopes that the much older rock would impart some wisdom to the provincial tree.
Moira was sitting under it now on that very boulder as she mentally prepared herself to go to work. There was nothing hard about her job, but she liked to be in the right space before she arrived. Also, Donny, her neighbor Jakes housemate, was going to catch a ride to work with her. So, she was also waiting for him.
Gwydion, her employer, had given Donnie a job in house keeping in the café at the resort and hot springs she worked at teaching yoga. She was also preparing for her meeting with Gwen regarding expanding her role there. Gwydion was trying to establish music for the grounds and was hoping to start training talent as they were having some difficulty securing local musicians. As with everything with Gwen, it was long term thinking – seeds planted now for shade trees and fruit tomorrow. She also suspected that Gwen was laying out the first steps in a path to make her his second in command.
Gwen had laid out four areas of focus for the resort – water, earth, wind, and fire.
Water was represented by the hot springs and bathhouse. It was a chance to be clean. To wash things away. It also represented the heart and was the most social part of the resort.
Earth was represented by the grounds. They were laid out with a compliment of edible, medicinal, and ornamental plants. It was a place devoted to the care of the body.
Wind was represented by the amphitheater. It was a place where ballets, lectures, and concerts were given addressed the needs of the mind.
Fire was represented everywhere. It could be found in the heat of the drawn bath. It could be found in the oven of the kitchen. It could be found in the illumination of the theater. Fire was transformative. It addressed the needs of the soul.
Moira’s instrument of calling was Double Bass, but she played all the string instruments. She had taught both her grandchildren violin – her little treble makers as she liked to call them. Adjacent to the amphitheater, Gwen had plans for a school. One of the classes taught there would be music, but Gwen had hinted that her role would be one of a “principle” of sorts.
Moira had the background to pull it off. She had started her life in classical music and dance before moving on to university and then a corporate position of leadership all the while dabbling in fine arts to amuse herself.
It was corporate life that had introduced her to the concept of “retreat”. These “work vacations” had become important to her as a time of deconstruction and reconstruction. When she retired, she found herself gravitating to all sorts of retreats. Yoga retreats, music retreats, writing retreats, ceramic retreats – you name it. Moira enjoyed it all.
It was at one such retreat she had met Gwydion, sailing. He had discussed with her his resort. They had a likeness of minds and a relaxed way of speaking to each other. He was also very easy on the eyes which made her school girls heart glad. He made her feel young. Before she knew it she had been recruited to join his team of workers.
Which brought her to now – under this tree – sitting on this rock. Yoga instructor hadn’t really felt like work. It had felt like a calling. But the resort also had the feeling of a calling. Taking on more didn’t feel like signing up for more somehow. It felt like another step down her right path. It was a path that had brought her to this house, this neighborhood, this town. There was magic here. She could feel it.
A noise distracted her and she looked up to see Donnie on his way accompanied by her other neighbors Tyco and Jamison Lee. They were delivering fresh eggs and had dropped some off at Jakes just in time to escort Donnie over.
A new friend, a new opportunity, and fresh eggs. There were even blueberries on the bush and peaches on the tree. At a time in her life that she should be thinking of how to wrap it up, it felt like she was just beginning. Her wandering soul was at rest. She had arrived. Like the tree her reason for being had not immediately been apparent. It was time for her to start providing shade for others to sit under.