Two planes. Dad stands on the ladder, I’m lying on my back. His hedge trimmer makes straight lines in the foliage. Meanwhile, my brain is trying to absorb infinity: “ Dad what’s at the edge of the universe?” The hedge-trimmer stops. He looks up at the sky. Then at me: “I don’t know; I‘ve never thought about that question.” The edges of the hedges are now near perfect, hiding their inner populations of sanctuary-seeking birds. My mind is still wandering random lines of cosmos. We go into the bungalow to eat.
Dad is much older now and so am I. The hedges remain cloaked in their green oval leaves, but someone else cuts their straight lines. The birds continue to make their homes deep inside, but Dad now inhabits a world far from the garden, an imaginary place populated by his engineer past. And I observe a much smaller cosmos: the birthmark on the back of his neck, a place I had never noticed, as I help him move around indoors. The hedge borders both worlds; then and now, and like the birds, I find sanctuary in our shared universe.
The hedge in the story is Ligustrum ovalifolium illustrated in the picture from http://www.royalplant.ro. It is Korean in origin and commonly used in ornamental plantings.
Author: Dawn Sanders