My Own Personal Paradise

My Own Personal Paradise

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While some may consider paradise an otherworldly place where all one’s dreams and desires are fulfilled, I have a very different, more earthly view, on the matter. My vision of paradise has no singing angels and no endless amounts of whatever. The Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg contains several acres of ornate gardens and a small canal. On one end of the canal is a wooden bridge with crackled and peeling paint, and almost expected is the bench that is built into the side of that bridge. Here, sitting in this bench, I am at peace.

I sit and watch the ripples of heat rise from the crushed seashell paths on either side of the canal and smell the scent of grass that has been covered in dew not a scant time earlier, but now bakes in the August sun. The welcome shadows from the weeping willows to both sides of me and the gentle caress of the cool breeze seem to be silent approval at my choice of sitting here.

A cicada buzzes in a tree nearby, almost in tune with the song of a fiddler somewhere to the south. As I listen, bubbles in the canal appear and I stand to see what they are, as a turtle’s old gray-green head pokes out of the murky water to stare at me as I do of him. Apparently uninterested in me, he dives again and the trail of bubbles begins anew.

Again I sit, as still as before, in respect for the silence, yes, but also for fear of splinters from the patches of roughened wood those countless visitors have caused. They too have sat here, but are forgotten. Now, at this time, it is my bench. I own it for now, and will always own it in my mind.

Too, I own the memory evoking smell of the boxwood hedges that line the very edges of the canal.

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A scent impossible to describe, I do not even make an attempt, lest I offend that wonderful odor. It tempts me every time I walk down the path to my bench. The scent refreshes weary feet and muscles to make the end of a long day not so bad indeed.

It seems I have lied in the beginning paragraph. There are endless amounts of something there, at my bench, vast quantities of semi-silence, of relaxation, and most valuable of all, memories.
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