Toy car

Pilgrimage

            Okay, so the place was by invitation only, and they’d not known, and they stood outside the locked gate.  The stone wall that lined the lane could easily be scaled, but the sign on the gate said, in red letters, No Admittance without Advance Arrangement, and the garden walls had regular No Trespassing signs.  Daniel knew what was inside, had seen a slide show and heard a talk by a colleague who had visited Spartan Stones.  An artist’s garden.  A sculptor’s garden.  A garden with poetry etched in stone, whole walls like lines of poetry, and each view landscaped toward a beauty that could not be captured by film or video.  Environmental art had to be experienced environmentally, and they’d driven to the environment, Daniel and his wife, and Ruth was in the rental car, sulking, glowering like the clouds that might soon drop rain, and Daniel was peering through the gate, and he saw no sign of life, no automobiles parked outside the house, nothing.  He signaled to Ruth, a gesture meaning “up and over,” which was his intention, as he moved toward the stone wall.
            On the road, a sheep approached their rental car, then another, marching up from below the hill their car was parked at the top of, the number of sheep below obscured by the steepness of the incline.  There might be five more, or five hundred.  They might be out for a random stroll, or might be being driven from one pasture to the next.  A few trotted forward, stuttering toward the car.  Ruth  pounded on the window, motioned him inside, but Daniel wanted to extricate himself from the tide of sheep by climbing the stone wall, not be escaping into the thin metal of an automobiles.  Ruth rolled down the window.  “Daniel,” she called.
            As he turned, he saw what drove the sheep.  A ram, twice as big as the other animals, head lowered, and suddenly bellowing.  Daniel ran through sheep to the car, but the animals were so thick and close he could not open the door.  And the ram pawed the road just yards away.  Daniel climbed a sheep’s back, then hurled himself onto the top of the automobile.  The ram charged, and the glass of a headlamp shattered.  The animal backed away, bellowed once more, and moved the sheep ahead of him.  They slowly streamed down the hill in the other direction, disappearing as quickly as they’d appeared.
            Daniel took a deep breath.  Stood on the roof of the car.  The garden, locked to him, was laid out before him.  Splendid in its design, its labyrinth paths, its rock monuments, its gates, its lines of stone, its magnificently framed views.  He couldn’t read the words, of course, but he knew what they were.  Ruth pounded the ceiling of the car.  Daniel ignored her briefly, then climbed down, hurried inside, started the engine, and they left, in the opposite direction of the sheep.

 

 

 

 

 

Wedge of box hedge

Toy car

Baggie with plant clippings

Marigolds sprouting from potting soil

 

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