When clearing tight small areas of debris, I use our grandson’s miniature rake. When I walk, I notice that most other yards have no tight small areas, because the machines the owners use to maintain order have destroyed them, or otherwise dictated their absence. The standard result is one uniform yard, whereas, when I work outside, I see multiple yards, I see worlds within worlds, I see light and shade and quiet entrances to hidden grottoes. Fairy tale mushrooms. Whispers in the dawn of a new faith not yet corrupted by the old — that is, a child’s view — aware, but in no particular order and with no distinct purpose in mind, accompanied perhaps by a small tremor suggesting hunger, and the wordless association of joy and the feeling of sunlight on my arm. I am using the rake, with its short smooth handle and blue tines. I am beneath a lacy green maple and behind some red bushes, not far from the street. I hear the approach of a jogger’s heavy footsteps. I immediately recognize them, the pain they represent, the determination to lose weight, the man’s shape, size, and familiar dogged expression, and his need for quiet and solitude, knowing full well that despite their accuracy and meaninglessness, these are ideas in my mind and quite possibly not in his at all. And then I think, footfall.
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