Wonder Given Freely

The house came up to about my knees.

And it was not your average knee-sized house. For one thing, it was outside. Right on the sidewalk, the street side of the sidewalk, no less.

For another thing, it was round. And it had this grand, brown roof that mushroomed over it. In fact, the roof mushroomed so grandly over it that I could barely see the rest of the house.

The roof was made of layered walnut strips no thicker than your index finger. A saltine-sized skylight faced the east. A square aluminum chimney rose up out of the roof and shone hot in the sun.

Then there was the landscaping around the house. It was fenced inside a spacious pine or maybe birch square that rested on top of the sidewalk. Four jello-green shrubs were planted in each of the square’s corners. Palm-sized flat stones circled the round house.

And it was a house, yes, but it was also a knee-sized monument to human craft and care.

I marveled at the little round structure from several feet above, then bent down and starting peeking around it. Which was when I realized what the house was:

A stump. The sawed down remains of a tree that had once given shade and oxygen freely to anyone who happened to walk down the sidewalk.

And a person had taken the sawed down remains and given it a roof over its head, plants at its feet, and a reason for people to notice it again.

I have no idea who that person was. Maybe I’d passed her in the produce aisle or maybe I’d never seen him in my life.

But I had this rush of affection for that person. For taking what remained after the chainsaws sawed, and making a little piece of wonder with it. Then giving that wonder freely to anyone who happened to walk down the sidewalk.

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