One of the prime delights of a warm Spring day is a sit in the garden.
You know how it is: a new season, fresh air, sunshine, birdsong, and the chance to think problems through without the four walls peering over your shoulder.
All things are possible.
And so it is today.
In fact, I'm mulling over a very interesting problem right now, tho somewhat sleepily.
I'm in a recliner under the big oak tree in the back garden, enjoying the scent of blossom in the shade of noon. My eyes are closed; this helps my concentration*. Tiny motes of warm sunlight dance lazily behind my eyelids as the tree moves in the light breeze.
[ * Allegedly. It certainly helps me focus when trying to nap. ]
I sigh and embrace the moment as my mind turns the problem over...
A light tickle on my knee results in a gentle twitch from me as my ancestral memory-of-a-tail flicks a fly away. A second tickle and a stifled giggle a few moments later raises my head from the recliner as my eyes open.
My first glance takes in blonde hair, a bright dress, and a big smile.
Hey Abbey, I say, as my own smile trots into view. It's okay, I wasn't asleep.
Oh, I know, says my neighbour easily, stooping for a moment to admire the snowdrop and crocuses around the tree. I'm sorry to disturb you, tho; I could see you were thinking. This sounds like teasing, but I know she's not joking. I idly wonder what colour my aura was a moment ago?
Oh, to see ourselves as others see us, I sigh. She beams at this misquote of Burns. I move my shoulders to wake the muscles up and then meet her eye. What's up?
I was hoping I might ask a favour, she says. I nod and make an affirmative noise. Would you mind picking us up from town later? She clasps her hands together in an endearing fashion. Around four o'clock, please?
I frown; this might be a problem. But I juggle a handful of tasks and priorities in my head, and the results are generally positive.
Not a problem, I say, I have one big task to do this afternoon, but I'll be done in plenty of time.
The problem is hanging over me, but I'm pretty sure I can sort it.
You’re sure? she asks, running her hands through her hair lightly. My mind hiccups, but I recover magnificently.
Yes, it's to do with the car, but the lads will be helping me. She nods, juggling her own thoughts; Hoth and Sollust are very competent young engineers, but she knows the boy badgers are easily distracted. It'll be fine, I reassure her. Anyway, who's "us"?
Oh, Dantoo and I, she replies, glancing back at the house. I've promised her a look at some lovely old folklore books in the University library.
Folklore? I'm intrigued. But before I can ask, Dantoo comes out of the open back door. The young girl badger strolls up from the house, carefully carrying a glass of what looks like lemon fizz. This takes a while; her black-and-white legs are only little. She presents me with the drink with a smile and raises an eyebrow.
Thanks, I say, sipping. It's sharp and cold, perfect for the day. Mmmm, that's perfect. She nods happily, and turns to tug at the hem of Abbey's print dress. As my neighbour looks down, Dantoo points at her wristwatch, a chunky thing in pastel plastic. A tilt of her head indicates the question.
Abbey nods. Yes, Indigo will pick us up at four from the library. Do you know where your brothers are?
Dantoo indicates with a looping wave towards the house and a wild flourish that the duo are doing something indeterminate but worrying in the front garden.
Abbey and the youngster step closer. I receive a peck on the cheek from the pair of them, and they head off. I'll send the boys your way, calls Abbey over her shoulder. Have fun!
A moment later I'm left with my own thoughts in the garden.
I take another sip of the drink; it really is perfect. And then, settling into the recliner again, I turn my mind back to the problem.
But instead of closing my eyes, this time I stare up into the high branches of the oak and regard the problem directly.
I have no idea how Hoth and Sollust managed to get my car up in this tree, but I hope they have a plan to retrieve it that involves neither a saw nor explosives.
Yes, all things are possible.
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