The walk to school every morning was purposeful and timed. If I left the house on time and walked without delay I could arrive with breath to spare and time to visit with my classmates, an integral exercise in what continues to be the most attended class of the newly blossomed adolescent years - socialization. But the walk home was different. Instead of a preoccupation of what was to come, which often filled my thoughts along the morning trek, my mind assumed a memory mode as it soared through the past events of the day. It was almost an effortless thinking, an effortless being. It just was and it mattered not what time I left school, for I was going home and need not worry about arriving before the bell.
On the way home I took a different path ~ a path that would take me past the huge brick house on the corner. It was not the house I liked, it was the bushes. The bushes filled with luscious green leaves that stroked my bare arms and legs like gentle kisses as I walked through their midst. The bushes filled with aromatic blooms of lilac, white and pink that towered well above my head and made me feel as if I had entered another space in time entirely. Each day I ventured in and through and out feeling full and filled, and for reasons I did not care that I did not understand, I emerged whole and fulfilled. I loved those bushes and their space and how they made me feel.
Once I grew and moved away from my place of origin, each visit home I would venture past those bushes – just to be sure. But one summer afternoon as I arrived in the city, something seemed odd and I began to feel an almost nauseating pain in the pit of my stomach. I thought it was the hot weather and the length of time I had traveled in an un-airconditioned car. But as I approached the huge brick house, I quickly forgot about the heat. The bushes were gone! My temple had been destroyed. And even though it has been gone several years now, I cannot help but venture past where it once stood each time I return home – just to be sure.