A House by the Side of a Road

(12-15 February 1989) after Sam Walter Foss

Across the street along the tracks a line of trees turns red in fall, bare in winter, green in spring. Beyond the bridge tall eucalyptus sway in wind sloughing off strips of bark and leaves. At my desk by the window I am surrounded by green— a juniper presses against the building— a mock orange spreads its arms around the corner— redwood, hedge, bush, ivy, blackberry, poison oak. Scrub jays plant acorns in our flower pots, or jeer from the ungainly pine. Timid hummingbirds hover to sip sugarwater, or chatter angrily to chase each other away. Robins angle to eat juniper berries, awkwardly reaching on limber branches. I sit at my desk and focus on these animals, gripped in their presence. On this corner cars stop to change drivers, discounts blazoned on windshields. Among the trees, women with dogs on leashes wait helplessly, or lurch along the path. In the morning joggers tread the dog path, with total self involvement. Living here, I try to be inconspicuous; a friend to these creatures leaves them be.