Starrett’s Hedge  By  W. Bruce Watson
I can't say when Starrett's hedge came into existence, I only know it was there during those years I used to walk Barney, our beloved Springer Spaniel, down the lane. He used to pee on it religiously, always at this one corner, the one closest to Starrett's driveway. One day Starrett caught him at it, caught him in the act with his leg raised and everything. "Please don't let your dog piss on my hedge; it's killing it," Ken groused. And indeed it was, had in fact, for where the corner should have been was a large hole, something resembling what I imagined Lewis Carroll might fancy for inclusion in a poem or a story or something about rabbits. The hedge, privet, was the second most prominent feature of an otherwise featureless property, but a distant second, for the first was a majestic, ancient aromatic cedar situated right on the property line, at its western most edge. The hedge stretched across from the driveway 30 feet or so to this property line, and was situated a scant 20 feet in front of the house, a low windowless structure with lean-to roof that extended out over the front walk which abutted the house itself and doubled as a front porch.

At some point during most weekends, Ken could be found out front trimming the hedge with an electric hedge trimmer, and it was during one such session that he took me and Barney to task for desecrating his hedge. The hedge seemed to prosper under his care and over the years got taller and bushier, amply screening the small tent trailer Ken kept permanently parked on the miniscule lawn which separated the house from the hedge. For reasons never entirely clear to me, one summer Ken cut the top of the hedge way back, lowering it by about a foot or so. Of course this removed any hint of green from the its top, exposing a tangle of dark brown branches and a cavernous trench, looking as if a giant had been at the hedge with a huge router. "It'll fill back in once the sun gets in there," he assured me one day as Barney and I stopped to view the carnage. The summer passed, and so too the next one and the one after that, yet the hedge remained brown topped and gutted, especially down at the property line end where the magnificent cedar tree cast its shadow much of the day.

Later that year, during the dog days of summer, the tree people showed up and removed the ancient tree, leaving the place looking more impoverished than ever and naked, with the hedge all that remained to cover its privates like some kind of a ratty g-string. "It was a messy damn tree," Ken explained one day when I asked him why he took it out, "always dropping shit on the ground under it." But I knew what his real objection was—it was shading the hedge, keeping it from filling in the trench down its middle, and regaining its green top. That summer turned out to be particularly hot, and Ken's little house, now bereft of all afternoon shade, sweltered under the remorseless and punishing sun. Punishment seemed in order, seemed called for.

Barney died that fall and the next spring we acquired a new Springer Spaniel named Ezekial, and he quickly fell into the routine of walks down the lane, and though I was careful to see that he didn't mark Starrett's hedge, that one corner that Barney had laid claim to years and years ago has remained, to this day, something a rabbit in search of a warren would fancy. Slowly the trench down the middle has filled in. All that remains of it now is a scar running the entire length of the hedge. Stark.
The truth is, after much furrowing of brow, I can't think of anything to say by way of preface to my blog. Along the way I wondered what it's purpose might be and maybe I should say a few words about that and would, except that I don't know what its purpose is, or could be, or should be. I only know that my clock is winding down and I'm so desperate to have my mind known that I could just spit! Maybe my blog could be about that. But how depressing and pretentious that could be! But hold on a second, maybe not—my therapist commented the other day how in late adulthood (AKA elder years), one is forced to deal with the sense of loss, all the time, it's always there, and it's painful, it takes great faith to live on even though one knows it's going to end and that whatever they accomplish, if anything, is not going to matter all that much. How does one find meaning or a sense of fulfillment in life knowing that it’s coming to an end? Psychologists have not written much about this if anything. It's sort of an unexamined part of adult life. It takes a lot of self-discipline to function in spite of this sense of loss—it's so easy to give up on the constant struggle, on life. A lot of people do—drinking, TV, drugs, electrosex, So, if you'll bear with me, let us examine this unexamined part of adult life.
Copyright © 2011 W. Bruce Watson, Inc. All rights reserved.  
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