by Patricia J. Weaver
(Florence, Alabama )
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I crawl through the neglected intertwined vines that hang like emerald curtains from the trellis. Being careful that the claw- like branches doesn’t catch in my hair, I enter the magical world under the grapevines. The air is cool. I smell the damp musty dirt and the sweet odor of rotting grapes. There is no movement except the changing dance of sunlight that penetrates the heavy foliage. I creep deeper into this twilight room of enchantment and I’m filled with tranquility.
As I sit letting my eyes adjust to the dim light, I can hear the distant hum of bees collecting nectar from Granny’s flowers, a mockingbird singing his medley of songs, the metallic sound of Grandpa’s hoe hitting rocks and Granny singing “Amazing Grace”.
Peeping through a small opening I observe the world outside. I see the mockingbird sitting high in an apple tree and Granny hanging out clothes. I watch as my brother chases my cousin with a grasshopper and hear her high-pitch squeals of fright. My uncle is sitting on the porch smoking a pipe and I smell the spicy pungent aroma of his tobacco.
Under an oak tree my mother and father sit, taking turns cranking the handle of the ice cream maker and talking. Unaware that they are being watched, Daddy leans over and gently kisses my mother. They look into each others eyes and smile.
I watch a yellow butterfly float across the lawn, dipping and swaying as if it is performing a ballet for the irises, daylilies, and buttercups in the flower bed. A blue bird with a bright orange chest sits on a peach tree limb, singing his courting song for any female willing to listen.
In this special place I am a spectator to the outside world, detached from it but still able to view its sights, hear its sounds and enjoy its smells. Letting my imagination take over, I am a spy trying to uncover information by observing this family’s activities. I am a stowaway on a ship, or a Cherokee warrior watching a family of settlers invade my home, or maybe an outlaw hiding from a posse. A ringing bell pulls me from the enchanted world of make believe.
“Ice cream’s ready!” I hear my Granny yell.
I quickly slip out through the small hole in the grapevines back into the bright sunlight and the real world. Being invisible is great but nothing is better than home-made ice cream!