Place Blog #8: The Rustling of Leaves

I should have worn my hair up today. The wind is blowing so hard, I can’t keep it out of my face. It makes is hard to sit and write. Paper and hair all flapping. Today is the first time this year I’ve noticed the sound of rustling leaves.  I can’t believe the sound has returned. Between the 87 degree weather and the mellifluous sound, I’m getting sleepier by the minute.  I wish I had brought a blanket like some of the people stretched out on the hill.  They’re sunning themselves. Pale skinned turtles, bellies toward the sun, stretching their limbs, napping.

I feel something on my leg. I think it might be a string of pollen but when I look down, I see it’s a caterpillar -silken black, gold, and cornflower blue. It’s smaller than most caterpillars, thinner. I marvel at how it came to be here crawling up my leg. It must have been blown out of the willow oak I’m sitting under. It crawls over my knee. The smell of cigar smoke blows by; a lady across the pond is smoking black & mild. Its sweet and kind of sickening. The caterpillar crawls onto my notebook. I stop writing. I hold the paper by the corner. It goes straight for my pen.
Two guys with guitars walk behind me toward the pavilion. I can see their shadows moving; the sun is at my back, warming my shoulders. One of the guys says, “Two houses!” then mumbles something about Capulet. He can’t remember the opening lines of Romeo & Juliet but I think it’s cool that he tries. Some ecstatic girl in a sun dress recognizes them, runs toward the bridge with her Big Gulp.
The caterpillar climbs my pen. I sit still.
The girl, in her drop waist dress, walks with toes out, as though she had on ballet shoes, but she is barefoot. She twirls. They walk off together toward the hill.
The caterpillar hangs from my pen. To the sound of water lapping at the rock wall, I carry him over to the trunk of the Willow Oak I’m sitting under and deposit him at the base of the tree. I hope the fragile critter doesn’t get eaten by a bird. I watch for a moment. The caterpillar continues to climb.
Spectacular things happen here. I love this place.

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