Two Pairs of Eyes

- an excerpt  from The Daily Muse - Tom Spencer's Soul of the Garden

September 3 - morning

Yesterday, a good friend took me to his secret place- an undeveloped bit of Hill Country on the grounds of his employer's high tech campus. Just a few hundred yards from a building holding the most sophisticated equipment imaginable, he has created a trail that leads through a dense cedar and oak thicket. We were searching for "holey" limestone, the so-called honeycomb rock that you find scattered throughout the hills. He knew that I love using these stones as accents in my garden and wanted to show me some that he had found. As we walked through the cedars I was struck by the effort he had made creating the trail and by his intimate knowledge of the area. He told me of his encounters with deer and other wildlife, including a long "stare down"  with a fox in one of the grassy clearings we passed through.

As we walked, I imagined him escaping to this place in the middle of the day. He called it his meditation place, and I knew that it must be meaningful to him- that the sense of isolation and shelter offered by this little spot of wilderness were powerful tonics to an otherwise hectic  life.

Eventually, we came upon the cache of holey stone, and it was a good one. My excitement was contained only by the fact that I  knew that any stone I collected had to be carried out. That did not stop me, though, from hauling out several outstanding (and rather heavy) specimens. Today, they are proud new additions to my garden.

I feel honored to have been asked on this little expedition. By taking me to his private retreat, my friend was revealing to me a little bit of his soul. Now, whenever I think of him, I will find it hard not to imagine him alone with the fox- two pairs of eyes meeting in a clearing surrounded by sheltering trees.

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Excerpted from the September 2002 edition of  The Daily Muse

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