When she was three or four, her dad

planted The Hedge, of honeysuckle

that for years gave her home’s yard

an edge–Spring’s nourishing showers

purplish-pink flowers would bring, and

in its branches robins and other birds

would build nests and sing–followed

by Summer’s juicy-tasting red berries,

bright and gay–good for birds, not

little kids, mom would say–then, in

Winter, the bushes’ naked branches

clothed in snow, sometimes ice, added

to the chill landscape’s silvery glow–

for about ten years, the bushes grew,

their branches spreading wide, and she

found the spaces between them, as a

small girl, a splendid place to hide–

while other kids would grow up with

a friendly cat or dog, The Hedge was

her constant companion as she was

growing up–until she was 13 and

left her childhood home and moved

away–but t’was a short drive from

her new home so she could still see

it anyway–for The Hedge’s existence

she’d never given much thought to

its reason, nor asked why something

so gorgeous was there to brighten the

landscape every season–it was just for

beauty, she’d assumed–decorative,

pleasing to the eye, perhaps an

improvement to increase the property’s

value–which is why she was so

dumbfounded when 1990 thereabouts

she drove by the old house to see The

Hedge being torn down, then came

home and told her dad this, wearing a

big frown–(he was in the autumn of

his life–but she hadn’t known at the

time)–dad considered its destruction

a most distressing crime–then went on

to tell her something about which she’d

never had a clue–something poignant

that for all those years since it had been

planted she now wished she knew–

as a wise, kindly and loving King would

build a moat around his palace–to

guard his precious little Princess against

any acts of malice–her father had

planted The Hedge to protect her from

the nasty boy next door–who’d bitten

her and done other bad things  her

Father just could not ignore–so The

Hedge was no mere ornament–but

a sign of her Father’s love–his caring–

something she feels very bad to

realize she never truly did see–

through all of those years as a

bratty young girl, then a rebellious

teen–at times she’d felt he didn’t

really love her–and was really

being mean–and she didn’t see

him as the treasure she should have;

him in her thoughts she’d curse–but

she truly loved him, misses him and

The Hedge and pleasant memories of

both she now nurses–she now likes to

imagine her Father’s contented life

over on the Other Side–living in a

gorgeous, spacious home with The

Hedge blooming outside.

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