The Briar-Bower

So I glanced out at the back yard this afternoon and realized I’ve created some kind of Blair Witch masterpiece back here.

First, there’s the defunct chicken coop, still echoing after all these years with the memory of raccoon screeching and blood. You can just look at some buildings and know that a massacre happened there. (I’m so sorry, my fluffybutt girls.) A deeply haunted energy, as the kids say.

Secondly, that vine-covered tree in the distance that fell over more than a decade ago and refused to die. It’s just growing on its side now, looking up at the blackberries and morning glories draped across it like “this is fine.” And if you go around to the other side it looks like this: 

Oh that’s right my friends, we (and by “we,” I mean Sam, but he did it because I asked him to) hacked back the briars just enough to create an awesomely spooky little tunnel into a secret world that looks like this:

See? That’s the tree that fell over. When we first moved in I envisioned this as a place for the boys to the play, a natural tree fort, but the truth is they spend almost no time there because they’ve got Fortnite and YouTube instead.

I’m the one who likes to go out there and sit, because I find it a meditative and a magical place. A secret grove where the fae energy is strong. I dragged that bench in there, and put the little froggo statue at the tree’s roots, along with a birdbath. As decorations, or offerings.

As an offering to what? I dunno. I am an atheistic nature worshipper, a lapsed witch. It’s just an offering to life, mostly, because I’m super inspired by this mock orange tree that fell over and refused to die. And I love the little world that it created by continuing to flourish while having a bit of an extended lie-down. I come and fill up the bowl with water sometimes, though I also intentionally let it run dry in between, to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. It means something to me, though I couldn’t necessarily say what.

In my head I’ve called this spot the Green Chapel, or sometimes the Briar-Bower. If you sit on the bench and look up over your head, it looks like this:

The big leaves are a fig tree that’s spilling over from the neighbor’s yard, and supporting some of the smaller vines as it does. I think sometimes about that song from Hamilton, about sitting under your own vine and fig tree. I mean it’s from the Bible. Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid. But I think of it in Hamilton form, and I hum it a little bit sometimes, and usually by the time I come on out from under there, I feel comforted.

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