We head off gently. The neighbors are just beginning their days. Some running out in their pajamas to grab the morning newspapers; others are bustling to set up yards sales or to load up the car for a jump ahead of beach traffic. The neighborhood rises with various intentions.
The walk leads up the street about 100 feet. We pass a few neatly landscaped lawns. Lawns that say I'm well cared for...I matter. Lawns that remind me that our lawn looks neglected...overgrown...but in a strange sense wild and free. Still that sense of the wilderness doesn't conform to the neighborhood proper, so I make a mental note to whack the crap out of it as soon as yesterday's rains evaporate.
Turning right brings us to something the municipal planner calls "a paper street". A dead-end, but to me it's the road less traveled. The street's more of a pathway...about70 feet of pathway, leading down a small hill. It's forested with tall maples bending to the wind. My tiny forest primeval hosts squirrels, birds of all kinds, rabbits and chipmunks. A virgin ecosystem among a 21st Century, overly manicured plat.
We move down the hill, Dickens sniffing for new scents as we descend. He knows we'll be turning left to walk along more houses. More houses with statuary and fences. He stops though to confirm our route. Moving on for another 20 ft. our destination reached. Before us, in the middle of all this humanity, we hear the song. First a soft hum and touch as if caressing a small child, then becoming louder, bolder to announce its greatest. We've come upon a stand of pines. Old pines. Tall. Majestic. Survivor pines worthy of attention and gratitude.
Most would say the wind produces the tone or the pitch, that settles my heart. That same wind blows throughout the maples, but there's no song, only creaking branches. The pines take the wind's energy to create music. Lyrical. Mystical. Healing. Nurturing. The melody moves me to tears. I stand there in front of a complete stranger's house under the guise of a sniffing dog in order to drink in the melody of the pines.
My heart tells me that I need to live with pines. I long for the day where I can tune in the melody by simply opening a window.