In forth grade our teacher Mrs. Sullivan read The Secret Garden out loud to us the last month of school. We had no air conditioning and after recess she would leave the ceiling lights off and tell us to put our sweaty heads down on our desktops and turn the fans on high while she read a chapter. Although Mary wasn’t likable, I related. She said all the wrong things and I said too many things. In the end, the bottom line was the same: plants and animals don’t judge. I spent the summer pretending our old dog Buddy’s vacant dog pen was a walled English garden. Onion grass and clusters of day lilies grew around fairy rings of toadstools and our cat would lie in the sun with his white belly toward the sky.
It wasn’t a moore or Yorkshire, but I’ve always been good at playing pretend.